Appreciate v Gratitude

Do appreciate and gratitude mean the same?

Appreciate is a verb and is defined as 1. recognize the full worth of;  2. understand (a situation) fully;  3. rise in value or price.  Appreciation is a noun that is defined as 1. the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something; 2.  a full understanding of a situation; 3. an increase in monetary value.

Gratitude is a verb defined as 1. the quality of being thankful, readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.  Grateful is an adjective and is defined as feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness, thankful.

I bring this up because lately I have been hearing people indicate that these two words mean exactly the same thing and they don’t.  I can appreciate something, but not be grateful for it! (Such as some life lessons, for example.)  I have long held this belief.

As a coach and a counselor, I am often encouraging people to practice gratitude more and I have found that the more I am grateful for, the more I have to be grateful for in my life.  Lately, someone said they preferred the word appreciate to gratitude.  I suggested that those words don’t mean exactly the same thing, and we had an excellent discussion on the topic.  Eventually, I had to concede that whichever word they preferred was a fine choice.  Part of the idea of appreciating is being thankful which is, in fact, the same thing as gratitude.  (Note: we actually looked up the words to settle our discussion. See above.)

This was an excellent exercise because it reminded me that although we speak this language our entire lives (if you’re a naturally English speaking person), we have so many words that have similar meanings, it’s important to not get too set in the use of certain terms as being the “best” way.

So I am publicly acknowledging that whether you are grateful or appreciative, make sure you find opportunities to experience one or the other (or both!) each and every day.  You will find that it will have a profound effect on your life, in a good way!

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