Earlier in life, I expressed a lot of gratitude. I was always grateful to this person and that person, grateful for this, grateful for that. Much of it was worth being grateful for. I never went to bed hungry. I had a warm house (and I lived in a cold country) My mother was alive! I had a few friends whose mother had died, so I was very grateful that my mother hadn’t died and grateful she was in the kitchen cooking the dinner and in the laundry washing the clothes. Haha
Later in life after my children were born, I was grateful at the end of each day that their mother hadn’t died! I must have been orphaned in a previous life as I considered ‘being motherless’ the greatest tragedy that could befall someone. Having a mother was top of my gratitude list you might say.
Eventually after my children were grown, I had to find something new for the top of my list. I mean I was still grateful that my children had not been made motherless but it just wasn’t as important once they were out on their own.
So I started a gratitude journal. Every night I would write down something I was grateful for during that day. I had the gratitude thing nailed. I was always able to find something new to be grateful for.
Then a few years ago, I was in a bit of a funk. I can’t remember the details but I do remember it had something to do with embracing myself as a woman, specifically a maturing (read ageing) woman. I went for an esoteric healing session. About half way through the session the practitioner suggested that it would be beneficial to develop more appreciation of myself. I couldn’t actually think of anything in that session to appreciate so she gave me the homework of writing down three things I appreciated about myself at the end of every day.
I found self-appreciation very confronting. I’m from that generation who was taught not to think too highly of themselves (being conceited was a very bad thing). I was taught to always put others before myself. Never, ever big note yourself. It was a struggle to think of even one thing in the beginning. Some of the things I wrote, I didn’t actually believe but I was trying them on to see how it felt. But – six weeks later, I was overflowing with appreciation and that’s when I realised the difference between appreciation and gratitude.
Appreciation is an honouring, of self or another. I can actually ‘feel’ appreciation in my body, there is a physical sensation. It’s like it is built into my divine particles. When I am feeling appreciation there is a warmth, a tingling.
Gratitude is being grateful for something which feels outside of yourself. To me, gratitude feels like I am giving away my power to another. I’m grateful that something has been given to me and in that I feel lesser than whoever gave me whatever it is I’m grateful for. This plays out even when being grateful to God for what has been given to me in life, which doesn’t acknowledge my role, my integrity, my karma in bringing the good result into my life.
The foundational quality of self-acceptance is part of true appreciation. We have to accept ourselves, we have to accept our warts (mistakes) and our gloriousness (our unalienable birthright), always there will be both.
Many people, me included, have been uncomfortable with praise or compliments. We were somehow taught or programmed to dismiss the praise – “Oh I didn’t sing that well tonight” knowing full well that we rocked it and shown how to counter the compliment – “What this old thing?” It’s no wonder that self-appreciation feels foreign at first.
As we practise appreciation, learning to accept and appreciate ourselves, we will naturally feel the expansion within ourselves. There is evolution offered through the gentle quiet revolution of appreciation over gratitude.
Are you ready to start your own experiment in the Science of Appreciation?
8/7/2017 05:45:49 am
I am appreciative of your sharing Gayle as it offers a deeper appreciation of myself. I love how you have explained gratitude as something outside of ourselves and in a way giving our power away if we first haven't appreciated who and what we are and how we live.
15/7/2017 07:15:18 pm
Hello Susan, Thank you for your confirmation. I'm pleased to find out I"m not the only one who sees it this way!
8/7/2017 07:07:29 am
I can feel the fire in the revolution! Viva Le Appreciation!
18/7/2017 07:31:29 pm
9/7/2017 04:07:20 am
I recognise and relate to much of what you have shared around appreciation and gratitude, Gayle, but I had never really considered the difference before, and yes, you're absolutely right - they do feel completely different. And I love your description of appreciation you feel in your body - very gorgeous. The feeling I have is lightness, spaciousness and joy which feels so natural.
15/7/2017 07:17:52 pm
Thanks for your description of how appreciation feels in your body Heather. That would be a good question to ask children (or I adults too I suppose) to help them develop a relationship with appreciation. "What does appreciation feel like in your body?"
Wow, 'Appreciation is an honouring, of self or another.' - Reading that made my particles tingle too, it is certainly more than 'I appreciate you for taking the bin out' -the kind of thing I might have thought of as appreciation in the past, but I'm really starting to get there is way more to it, thank you Gayle, I'm appreciating your appreciation ; )
15/7/2017 07:19:00 pm
Hello Laura. I'm appreciating you appreciating my appreciation. haha And round and round it goes. It is sort of like appreciation is contagious, eh?
17/7/2017 04:45:08 pm
Thank you Gayle. I also can feel the difference between gratitude and appreciation. I haven't been able to to articulate the difference so thank you for bringing clarity to the difference because this may help me verbalise the difference. My body can certainly feel the difference, but trying to explain the difference becomes tricky for me.
18/7/2017 07:33:00 pm
Thanks for your comment Jade. You can appreciate that you can feel the difference between appreciation and gratitude! If my blog helps you to articulate it, well, that's the cherry on top.
22/7/2017 09:19:36 am
The practice of appreciation has been very powerful for me in times of healing, when my low self worth had taken over my vision of myself and the world. In practicing appreciation, as you said, to think of 3 things a day (or even 1) for which I appreciate myself, had life changing results. Thank you for helping me to do that!
24/7/2017 02:01:04 pm
I knew connecting to appreciation would help you see the light of day again, just as it has helped me, and many others. And as you say, even one appreciation a day can start the journey. Sometimes it is all we can do to think of one. But the more we practice appreciation, the easier it becomes.
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Gayle Cue loves writing about life, reflecting on every day miracles and pondering on the big picture.
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