Years or maybe decades ago, The Gratitude Journal was birthed. It was wonderful. I noticed that those who did it faithfully and fully embodied it had more joy and more of what they were grateful for.
Gratefulness for my backyard, even when it is chaotic with the grandchildren’s play things, flower pots out of order or even dying grass convinced me. I have an amazing backyard. And I know it is not just me who thinks this to be true. Many comment about it. Many linger as they peek in when they walk by too.
What I discovered recently is that it is not so much gratitude that I feel for my backyard–it is appreciation. What’s the difference?
To me gratitude has a sense of “indebtedness” and although appreciation is a part of gratitude, gratitude has a different feel.
Try it yourself. I invite you to say, “I am grateful to my parents for giving me life.” Notice how your body responds……Notice what emotions rise to the surface. Notice the thoughts.
And now say, “I am grateful to my employer for the opportunity to provide for myself and my family.” Again, notice how your body responds to those words……Notice what emotions rise to the surface. Notice the thoughts.
Now I invite you to change the word “grateful” to “appreciative.”
What if you say, “I am appreciative to my parents for giving me life.” Notice how your body responds to the statement. Notice the emotions that arise and notice the thoughts. Is there a difference?
What happens if you say, “I am appreciative to my employer for the opportunity to provide for myself and my family.” Again notice how your body responds…notice the emotions…notice the thoughts…. Is there a difference?
According to wikipedia…appreciation is about 1) the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something. 2) a full understanding of a situation. This means acknowledgment, recognition, realization, knowledge, awareness, consciousness, understanding, comprehension of what is, what was or what might be.
And even though appreciation is a component of gratefulness….somehow it does not resonate the same way in my body. This is why today I decided I would give up my Gratitude Journal for an Appreciation Journal. And I am indebted to my gratitude journal and practice for guiding me towards this new direction towards further appreciation for all that is good in myself, my family, my life and the world.