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.”
OzGoogle 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.