Appreciation Versus Gratitude

The terms gratitude and appreciation are often used interchangeably, but have you ever paused to consider the difference?

Gratitude is expressing or showing your thanks for something or someone. It’s like, “Honey, thanks for painting the living room.”

Appreciation goes deeper. Appreciation involves recognizing and enjoying the qualities of something or someone. To carry on with our example, “Honey, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to paint the living room for me. The colour is just right and matches the furniture, and you did a perfect job. You even hung the family phots back up. It means a lot to me.” In this case, there was recognition and enjoyment in all the details of the job done. 

If you painted the living room, which would you rather receive, gratitude, or appreciation?

Appreciation has another definition: to increase in value.  Notice how in the example, the gratitude only addressed the face value, but the appreciation saw the details and fine points of the situation. Appreciation saw that it wasn’t just that the living room got painted, but saw it as an act of love, thus increasing its value. Imagine what a bit more appreciation could do in your relationships.

This doesn’t only work in relationships. Even taking a walk can see the difference in gratitude and appreciation. If you are grateful for the walk, you might think something like, That was a nice walk. Appreciation of the walk involves opening your senses, and being present to the walk to notice its fine points. That walk was just what I needed. The temperature was cool, but it kept me comfortable. The trees were giving off an interesting pattern in the light. The cut grass smelled so good. I even bumped into my neighbour and had a chat. The appreciation increases the value of the walk so that a walk isn’t just a walk, but a gift given just to you.

Where can you use a bit more appreciation in your life?  What gifts are being given to you without you even noticing? 

Here’s to Conquering Stress,
The Stress Experts

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