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What is the Difference between Gratitude and Thankfulness?

Thankfulness and gratitude are the two words that we often used to express the benefits we receive in life. However, most people do not understand the differences between the two.

To put it simple, gratitude means you are grateful and you can show it in many ways, including reciprocating help, cooking a dinner, help someone without expecting a return of favor, or buy someone a meal by helping strangers. Gratitude can be a way of life for someone.

On the other hand, thankfulness often means nothing more than saying the word, “Thank you”. Saying “thank you” is a good act, however, this action often happens after the person received the benefits and it is more like an automatic response.

In this article, you will discover the differences between gratitude and thankfulness in a clear and specific way.

What Is Thankfulness

1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines thankful as “conscious of benefits received”. It is a conscious act from the person who received the benefits.

2. It can be an automatic response most of the time. Just like a habit, you automatically say thank you to the people who have helped you when you needed it.

3. For example, you express your appreciation for someone who opens the door for you by saying the word, “thank you”, and often, this is to show your appreciation for the person’s act.

4. Usually, thankfulness happens in an instant. You say thank you right after someone helps you with something.

5. It is more like a polite behavior to show that you express your appreciation. Society has conditioned people to thankful rather than grateful.

6. The act of thankfulness usually lasts for only a short moment. You will never remember the guy who opened the door for you ten years ago.

7. It is easy to express thankfulness. You can go out to your local shopping mall and say something nice or say “thank you” to the salesgirl for her time in explaining the service or product.

8. Thankfulness is a social norm applicable in general situations while gratitude is the special manifestation of spirituality, love, and affection.

9. Grateful is a feeling while thankful is an act. When someone does something good to you, you feel grateful for him, and you offer your thanks to him as an action.

10. Thankfulness often happens at the surface. Whenever you express your thanks to someone, it will be merely just an act of expressing your appreciation toward him or her, nothing else.

11. Thankfulness is often associated with either words or gesture of appreciation.

12. Usually, it happens as a reaction from someone’s action. It can never occur at random moment when you are idling or taking a shower in the bathroom.

What Is Gratitude

1. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines thankful as “appreciative of benefits received”. It is a way of expressing appreciation with or without an act.

2. Gratitude is more like having a sense of thankfulness and the feeling is from within.

3. You feel grateful not only for the people you appreciate but also things that you feel has been of great help to you in your life.

4. For example, you can express your gratitude towards your car because it has been with you for more than a decade and has been through many ups and downs with you.

5. At the same time, you can express your gratefulness towards other people as well. Just like you can feel grateful for your mother who has constantly guided, supported and gave you valuable advice from time to time.

6. Grateful is a sense of feeling that happens at a deeper level that comes from within your heart.

7. The act of gratefulness is memorable and can live for a long time. When you feel grateful toward someone, you can feel the sense of appreciation to that person even after many years later.

8. Gratitude is the sense of being and can be a way of life for some people.

9. Gratitude is the manifestation of love, commitment, and devotion toward those who are meaningful to you. It encompasses shared experiences, love, and understanding that the universe has conspired to connect us together.

10. For instance, thankfulness is often the first step. It can grow deeper and becomes gratefulness.

11. Gratefulness starts from the mind. You have to believe that people and things are helping and doing good to you to feel the appreciation.

12. When you feel grateful for something, you can express your feelings without using words or any physical sign. It can be from within.

13. Being grateful can grow beyond the act of thankfulness. You are willing to sacrifice and do something special even without someone requires you to. The feeling is usually stemmed from the willingness from within you.

14. Gratefulness can come at a random moment. Out of sudden, you can feel your own financial blessings and pay for a stranger’s meal. Or maybe it suddenly hit you to remind your loved ones how important they are to you.

How to be Grateful and Thankful

The way to live an enriching and fulfilling life is to live with gratefulness. The key is to keep gratitude at the forefront of your life. When you focus your mind on how privileged you are, it makes it easy for you to want to bless other people and express your deep sense of appreciation toward other things.

Being thankful is great and being grateful is even better. You want to live a life with feeling that you are always blessed with the people and things around you. And you can only achieve this state of being through gratefulness.

One powerful way to bring the sense of gratefulness into your life is by writing your gratitude list. Each morning, before you get to work, write down a list of things that you are feeling grateful for. It can be your car, your spouse, your mother, your colleagues, your computer, your house, your dog, your kitchen, the food on the table, your money in the bank, etc.

Just make a list of things that you want to be grateful for and actually feel the emotions. Feel the gratefulness and express it through your writing. This will train you to become a grateful person who is always blessed with greatness and opportunities.


  • org/faith/2016/11/23/difference-between-thank-you-and-gratitude
  • com/understanding-the-difference-between-gratitude-and-thankfulness/
  • net/difference-gratitude-thanksgiving/
  • com/difference-thankful-grateful

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I would love to hear from you and read your comments on this article. Let me know what you think about this article. Is it helpful to you? Your comments and suggestions will serve as an inspiration and learning platform for me.
Regards, Sophia
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