Do you really know the difference between thankful and grateful?

We tend to use the words ‘grateful’ and ‘thankful’ the same. We are thankful for this thing. We are also grateful for this thing. What is the real difference? Can we be both thankful and grateful at the same time? Certainly!

The Oxford Dictionary defines thankful as “pleased and relieved.” It additionally defines grateful as “showing an appreciation of kindness.” Thankful is a feeling and grateful is an action.

At a holiday dinner, we might have family and friends eating with us. We have this warm feeling of happiness for everyone being there and participating. Feelings fade over time. We feel good today about something, but six months from now we no longer have that specific feeling.

Gratitude goes deeper. There is a sense of appreciation for everyone joining us for dinner. We have a feeling of peacefulness, calmness, and appreciation for what everyone has done to join us and make this event memorable. It is a deeper feeling inside us.

The first step is being thankful. The second step is being grateful. Gratefulness stays with us all year. We might thank someone who brought dessert to our dinner. We are grateful for the person who organized, notified everyone, followed up, made the changes necessary when needed, and more. Gratitude envelopes more love, devotion, and commitment to a person.

Being thankful can end with a simple handshake or hug and the words of thanks. Being grateful includes more than the simple handshake and words of thanks. There is an implied reciprocation to help that person at some point in time. Thankful is not typically a way of life. Gratitude can become a way of life.

Thankful is viewed by many as an instantaneous reaction, almost a habit thing, usually right after someone has done something. It may or may not be remembered two weeks later. It is usually a ‘surface’ reaction, not much love and endearment attached to it.

Grateful implies a deeper feeling of appreciation. It starts in the mind and slides into the heart. Gratitude usually happens over time. It can be a person or a thing. We are grateful for our mothers for their sacrifices over time to provide love, education, and direction for our lives. We can also be grateful for the car that has been with us through many travels and experiences in our lives. Gratitude stands the test of time.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –



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