Gratitude vs. Appreciation

Is there a difference?  My acupuncturist (how trendy is that?) off-handedly commented that “appreciate” shows she recognizes the value of something or someone, but also implies she deserves it.  “Gratitude”, in her mind, leaves out the “you-deserve-it” part.

Splitting hairs?  Maybe, but I can’t shake this nagging question shuffling around in my mind.  Time to get to sort it out.


First stop…Webster’s Dictionary.

  • According to Webster’s gratitude means “a feeling of appreciation or thanks”.
  • Appreciate means “a feeling of being grateful for something.”

Hmmm…not super helpful.  Each word is included as part of the other’s definition.  Seems like a draw.

Second stop…the powerful & all-knowing Google.

  • Google says gratitude means “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
  • Oz Google says appreciation is either “the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something” or “a full understanding of a situation.”

Neither definition weighs in on whether of not we deserve the object of our gratitude or appreciation.  Another draw.

Final stop…I polled my friends; completely un-scientific and random.  My question…”is there a difference between gratitude vs. appreciation?”

“Who cares?  Are you taking a class?”   ~snarky friend (let’s just say I’m not always appreciative or grateful for him, but he does have a point)

“My resolution this year was to be more grateful & appreciative daily – they’re the same thing to me.  Thank you for reminding me.”   ~ridiculously evolved & kind friend

“Did I forget to thank you for something?”   ~ paranoid friend

“Use ‘appreciation’ for art or music or architecture.  ‘Gratitude’ is for something somebody does for you.”   ~truly trying to be helpful friend

“Thanks for asking.”   ~ smart ass friend


Third strike.  No answer from Webster’s, Google or my friends.  In the end, it may not make any difference what I call it as long as I recognize the good stuff.





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