The dictionary defines gratitude as a state of being grateful; thankfulness. Gratitude is a noun. Thankfulness is defined as aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful. Expressive of gratitude. Thankfulness is an adjective. It seems gratitude is the state of being and thankfulness expresses that gratitude. Gratitude runs much deeper than words. It is a condition of heart. It is a disposition of one’s deepest self that must be constantly cultivated.
The subtle shift from gratitude to appreciation involves being more present – more thoughtfully aware and active in reflecting on the reasons we feel grateful about something or someone. Through present moment awareness, we begin to generate feelings of appreciation. For example, we can be grateful for having food on our table. However, we can go further and appreciate its beauty, fragrance, taste, nutrition, and preparation. We move beyond thankfulness as we consciously recognize the value that food adds to our lives. In fact, one definition of the word “appreciation” is “recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things.”
To me gratitude is that wonderful personal feeling deep within you that you don’t always share with others. This can and will change your life greatly, yet if you take it a step farther and show your appreciation to and for others you not only change your life but thiers as well. Appreciation also helps keep you in the moment as you look for the reasons for the graditude.
As you go about your week, begin to explore ways of appreciating your life more fully. Spend some time appreciating your relationships, your job, the world, and most of all, appreciating yourself. I know I will.
How often have you eaten a meal and not really tasted it, or completed a chore or drove to work without really thinking about it? Our days often pass us by while our minds are elsewhere.