Attitude of Gratitude versus Appreciation
What is Attitude of Gratitude?
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.” — Melodie Beatty
Many personal development practitioners tell us that gratitude is the best feeling to cultivate because it helps keep our vibrations positive and uplifted. So it is that when we adopt an attitude of gratitude, we are mindful about being thankful. We constantly express our gratitude for the blessings we are enjoying.
Admittedly if we are conditioned by past habits or find ourselves hijacked by our busy lifestyles, we may find it difficult to remember to express our thanks on a regular basis. We fall back into our old patterns of complaints, frustrations, and anger about how life sucks and is not treating us well.
We may well express our prayers of gratitude on rare or special occasions such as Thanksgiving Day. However, if we are hoping to attract a new reality, then it is obvious that saying thanks once or twice a year is hardly enough! Throughout the year, we will need to keep our engine of positive energy running. We need to keep our “energy engine” oiled with a constant supply of good vibes. Choosing to adopt an attitude of gratitude/appreciation is an excellent solution!
Wait a Minute: Gratitude versus Appreciation?
Wait a minute! If you have been reading my article closely enough, you will realize that I am alluding to a possible difference between the feeling of “gratitude” and the feeling of “appreciation”.
Admittedly, I first wrote this article using the two words interchangeably. Then, as I was at it half-way, I came into an achy feeling that something did not quite click. You may know what I mean. A torturous pain that gnaws on you, refusing to go away until you get to the root of your thoughts and feelings?
I recalled that I had watched a video sometime ago about the difference between the two. I managed to find it….
In short, Abraham Hicks explains that love and Appreciation carries the same energetic vibration. These feelings help to bring us into alignment with who we truly are. It is the absence of fear and resistance. Gratitude, on the other hand, carries the signature of past struggles that we have overcome. Abraham points out the difference between Gratitude and Appreciation is similar to the difference between motivation (makes you go somewhere) and inspiration (you are being called to who you are).
Hmmm….here is a confession: while I have always quietly preferred the use of the word “appreciation”, I admit to being swayed into using the catchphrase “attitude of gratitude” more often recently. To begin with, the phrase rolls off my tongue more easily because it rhymes better. No excuses but my subconscious must have been impressed upon from encountering the word “gratitude” more often than “appreciation” over several sites. So much so that just last week, I decided to make Gratitude a power word for me this year.
Well, I decided to sit quietly to examine my resonance with these words a while ago. I finally arrived at some thoughts.
Gratitude has more intensity compared to Appreciation. It carries with it a “push” energy as if I am compelled to express my thanks. It is as if I “should” feel it. It also captures the sensation of having experienced a favorable outcome beyond expectations. There is also someone or something that I am feeling grateful towards.
On the other hand, Appreciation is a feeling that naturally springs from within. When I am in appreciation, I have a regard for the object or person and I bring it into my presence. It is like how the Na’vi in the Avatar movie greet each other with “I see you” and truly mean it. So, Appreciation is about bringing whatever it is that I am thankful for into conscious knowing.
What is in A Word?
I did a check. According to the dictionary, the definitions of the two words are…
# (a) The state of being grateful; warm and friendly feeling toward a benefactor; kindness awakened by a favor received; thankfulness.
# A just valuation or estimate of merit, worth, weight, etc.; recognition of excellence.
# (n.) A rise in value; — opposed to depreciation.
# (n.) Accurate perception; true estimation; as, an appreciation of the difficulties before us; an appreciation of colors.
Then again, I also recognize that words by themselves can never fully encapsulate what we truly feel. What counts is the essence of our feelings and how powerfully we feel it. What is important is the conscious choice that we make when we feel negative.
My preferred choice, if I may add, is to direct my thoughts in better-feeling directions. Needless to say, the more I direct my thoughts positively and feel genuinely thankful, I find that the more I get to experience improved results.
The following are some tips to help you – and myself – shift into a paradigm of positivity through feeling thankful continuously. The words “gratitude” and “appreciation” are used interchangeably….unless otherwise specified…
7 Tips to Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude (or Appreciation)
1. Practice Gratitude Now. Indeed a sense of appreciation for the here and now is important. You may be led to believe that you can be happy only if some future event occurs. For instance, you will only feel good if you make lots of money, get a job promotion or become successful in our business. However, such beliefs keep you resonating in worry and lack. And since the Law of Attraction responds to your vibration, you will find that you are unable to manifest a new reality for yourself. You continue to attract the same life situations.
The secret therefore is to being thankful now. When we focus on the present rather than the past or the future, we realize that we are already currently enjoying many blessings. Our minds are not cluttered with misery over our past or worry over a future that is meant to salvage us from our dissatisfaction.
2. Connect With Your Feelings. It is important to FEEL grateful/appreciative. Your vibration goes up when you are experiencing a loving and positive emotion. It goes down when you are experiencing anger, jealousy, displeasure or worry. When you experience negative emotions, you are mis-aligned to who you truly are. Since the Universe responds to the vibration of your being, you will attract what you are largely feeling – whether positive or negative.
3. Be Authentic to Your Feelings. Gratitude and appreciation are feelings that expand you and should not put you in resistance. So if you express gratitude verbally even though you do not feel the same from within, you will need to stop lying to yourself. Perhaps in this case, a sense of appreciation versus gratitude helps in a greater alignment?
Even though you face challenging circumstances, there can be always something to be thankful for. I know it appears hard to feel thankful especially if the situation looks bleak! It is far easier to feel as if you are a victim of circumstances.
However, just think about it. There is no other way if you have a strong desire to change your reality. To experience a turnaround, you need to start feeling positive! You need to look at life as half-full instead of half-empty! The trick is to acknowledge what you feel, reframe your mind and bring yourself gradually into alignment. One thing to realize is that some of our best life learnings emerge from our most difficult time.
4. Every Thing Counts! It does not have to be something big for you to express your gratitude. Feel thankful as you sip your cup of coffee, take a walk or do your laundry. Say thanks for all the things that you take for granted. For instance, your family, home, electricity, water, pets, your friends, etc.) Give hugs, notes, a kind word. Thank your enemies for highlighting areas that you feel averse towards, and thus providing you with the opportunity to work on yourself. Once you start to notice beauty even in the littlest of things, you will find your life changing!
5. Make It Part of Your Daily Routine. The more we conjure a sense of thankfulness, the more the Universe will respond positively. Hence, not just for special moments, it will be good if we can make the expression of gratitude as part of our daily routine. Sense it, feel it and wear it!
Consider expressing your affirmation a morning or evening ritual, so that you do not forget. Incorporate it as part of your meditation session. Alternatively, consider expressing gratitude at mealtimes.
Other than just saying it aloud, it is a good idea to write down things that you are happy about. Keep a Gratitude Journal (featured in photo at the top of this post)!
6. Gratitude Rocks. I first learned about “gratitude rocks” from watching the movie The Secret. In the movie, Lee Brower shared about how the practice of carrying a gratitude rock assisted him in cultivating an attitude of gratitude. He began to sell his rocks and helped to spread positive vibrations around the world.
In the same manner, we can also choose to have little reminders – whether a rock, crystal or a photo of our gratitude board (see point 7 as well). The reminders help us in instilling a habit of expressing our sense of appreciation.
7. Make a Gratitude Vision Board or Photo Journal. To express your appreciation, you can make a vision board or a photo journal. Put together pictures of things that you are grateful or appreciative about. The advantage of making a gratitude vision board is that you can keep a mini photo copy of it in your wallet or bag and carry it around.
Let’s Hear it from You!
1. Since we still need to use words to communicate, I like to know your thoughts. For the practice of feeling thankful, which emotion resonates better with you: “Gratitude” or “Appreciation”? Is there a difference to you when you say “I appreciate what you’ve done for me” as compared to “I am grateful what you have done for me”? Or “I appreciate the beauty around” as compared to “I am grateful for the beauty around”? Is the nuance important to you?
2. What other tips do you have and can share about expressing thanks on a regular basis?