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When Gratitude Is Not For You, Appreciation Reigns

embody Nov 15, 2022

Gratitude is the high vibration state that can heal many problems, so we are promised. But what if you never feel genuine about gratitude? It leaves you with that ‘owing’ feeling. The holiday season generates a huge amount of talk about gratitude, and maybe like some - you don’t feel grateful for the gifts or who you are spending time with. 



“You’ll never meet a happy ungrateful person, or an unhappy grateful person because gratitude and happiness go together.” ― Zig Ziglar


When I began my journey inward I struggled with gratitude. It felt cheesy; that I was being forced to thank everyone for my life. Yet, my life is my responsibility and I needed to begin with myself. What I needed was to see the positive in the world around me, to recognise abundance and the inherent beauty of my own life, and self.



Why it is important to distinguish between Gratitude and Appreciation


Abraham-Hicks's teachings on Law of Attraction explain that these two words have different energetic vibrations. This resonated with me in the following way:


Gratitude often arises when we are grateful to another for doing something to help us. 

Appreciation is lighter because it is not connected to anything, it stands alone in recognising abundance and beauty by its own innate nature.


I began with appreciation: I could not be grateful living in London when I felt so unwell, but I could appreciate the efforts I put into my life to find balance. 

If we look at Buddhist loving-kindness and gratitude practices, it is the giving and receiving in relationships that is central to these practices. When we have low self-worth or low self-confidence gratitude may be a challenging practice. 



What is ‘Appreciation’?


The English definition* is “Recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.” and it provides “a full understanding of a situation”. We use appreciation to remind us to see the value around us and its inherent qualities.


Appreciation is often easiest to notice when in a new situation and we see the wonder around us. It can bring us to the present moment. In the present moment, you acknowledge the good, value it for what it is right then and value its existence.


Psychology research has evidenced that appreciation cultivates:

  • a positive mindset,
  • an ability to see a positive in situations,
  • being present to the wonders of life,
  • improved focus and attention,
  • letting go of negative attitudes and beliefs,
  • an improved sense of well-being, and
  • improved self-control and life choices.



  • Appreciation is vital for those disempowered, with low self-worth or self-esteem to practice. It brings back your power to acknowledge the abundance and beauty around you as being for you, or even your own contribution to its creation. It builds a sense of feeling valued of yourself and, then to the universe around you.
  • My self-esteem was low and I felt I 'owed' a lot to people who had supported me through my recovery. My appreciation practice enabled me to see what I had done for myself, what skills and gifts I had brought forward into my life.
  • Over-givers often find it hard to receive, this makes appreciation a supportive practice as they do not have to confront the struggles with receiving. Yet at some point a shift must be made, but this is after the self-esteem and worth have been rebuilt.  



  • Look at something physically in your view and ask "What is beautiful here?"
  • What have I done today that was good towards me?
  • Choose someone in your life (partner, boss, family) and ask yourself, "What quality do they have that I want to embody?"



What is ‘Gratitude’?


There are many definitions, but all contain “The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”**  Thus, it is a two-part word of giving and receiving. 


The first aspect is appreciation. Second, is that goodness lies directly outside of yourself: you acknowledge the role of others in your positive experiences. Therefore, the difference between appreciation and gratitude in the English language is that gratitude is a social exchange.


Gratitude builds social relations, whether new or existing relationships. It helps us connect to all life without judgment, as equals in an ongoing valued exchange of experiences.


Research studies show that a gratitude practice:

  • Improves thoughtful actions towards others,
  • Expands and improves our social outlook and interactions,
  • Strengthens relationships and helps maintains them,
  • Provides value reciprocity in our interactions,
  • Expands gratitude and abundance through ‘pay it forward’ where we do not require an immediate return for giving to another, and
  • Improves our social emotions toward other living beings.


I realised my transition to gratitude from appreciation had occurred without conscious effort, it had been natural. At an impromptu dinner invitation with strangers who provided me with all the meals and drinks, I mentioned that I felt I had not provided anything for the abundant gifts shared with me, their response was "We are sure that you have paid it forward and will do so again". This is an attitude of grateful living.



  • What am I grateful for today?
  • Who can I thank for making me smile today?
  •  I am grateful for ...[list 3 things you see/ touch/ friends / animals, etc]



Your Energy Choice of Word


“I’d love to be grateful, if only I had a reason.” – Anonymous client, ACEP


During the holiday season, our gratitude can flourish or be tested. We worry about who to give a card or gift to, and whether the exchange is sufficient or insufficient for the relationship. It can cause us to question the value of our relationships.

If you cannot honestly feel the vibration of gratitude to another remember that genuine appreciation with no expectation for a return gesture or comment can be more deeply rewarding than giving thanks.


Giving: Go back to what you can appreciate about that person, even if it is just that the universe is wonderful in its diversity is sufficient!

Receiving: When someone expresses appreciation towards you, accept it with thanks and do not feel that you owe a comment back, nor dismiss their appreciation with ‘oh that old thing!’. Focus on your appreciation for being appreciated!



Thank you


“It is impossible to bring more abundance into your life if you are feeling ungrateful about what you already have. Why? Because the thoughts and feelings you emit as you feel ungrateful are negative emotions and they will attract more of those feelings and events into your life.” ― Vishen Lakhiani


I appreciate that the world is changing, but this includes a conscious living movement that moves us toward healing the world for a better future.

I am grateful for all of you that read my blogs, take to the practices shared and are a part of the Embody Life Community. 

With much love, peace and appreciation, have a Peaceful end to 2022!



If you haven’t joined the Embody Life Community, then please do! It is free and we have a monthly call to support one another.


Join Embody Life Community Now





Originally published December 2018,



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