The Joseph Group

The Similar But Different Idea of Appreciation

August 26, 2022

To Inspire:

Matt Palmer recently shared insights with us on the importance of gratitude (What I Am Grateful for Today). His backdrop was the multi-car pile-up that included his daughter. There was considerable property damage, but no injuries. He was incredibly grateful.

I for one need to be more mindful of my own gratitude, but Matt’s piece also left me pondering the similar but different idea of appreciation.

On one level, I’m grateful for – and do appreciate – things, people, experiences, and the beautiful weather. On another level, we talk about things that appreciate; like assets that increase in value over time.

So, what’s going on here?

Sarah Kristenson wrote a piece titled: Gratitude VS Appreciation: 5 Basic Differences and suggested that gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness for something that makes things good or better; for a situation presented or removed. It’s counting your blessings.

But appreciation is a feeling that is acted on – it’s shown or given. I am grateful for my wife – I do appreciate her – but what do I do to show her that appreciation? Appreciation is value added to someone in recognition for their contribution to our happiness or success. It’s an intentional action that emanates from our gratefulness.

So, what are the 5 Basic Differences between Gratitude and Appreciation according to Kristenson?

Gratitude is something you feel thankful for within yourself. I can be, or feel, grateful. It costs me nothing. I’m not a millionaire, but I am grateful for what I do have: great work, good food, clothing, shelter, health, friends, a loving family – and not being injured in a car accident.

Appreciation is something that you extend to others. It does cost me something – an investment – goodwill – that makes an enormous difference in my relationships in all my circles of influence.

  • I might show appreciation for all that my wife does for me, starting with being a better – more intentional – listener, perhaps.
  • I might demonstrate my appreciation for my employees – recognizing their contribution to the success of our business.
  • And the size of the tip I leave is tangible proof of my gratitude – it’s my show of appreciation for the service I received.

Gratitude is a result of inner satisfaction. It’s Matt’s grateful heart – and it’s beautiful, priceless, and contagious.

Appreciation benefits relationships. Life is difficult – a roller-coaster ride of good and bad, ups and downs – and sometimes people need to see or hear that we value what they add to us while they’re riding theirs.

We invest in relationships – appreciating assets with greater benefits for everyone.

There is no genuine appreciation without gratitude.

Gratitude precedes appreciation. Appreciation grows out of gratitude. Without gratitude my appreciation is not authentic, and people don’t want it – it’s disingenuous.

It is no surprise that people who are grateful and show appreciation are happier people. As a melancholic who has been called Eeyore – I appreciate (ha ha ha!) that I need to be more intentional and show more appreciation. It will be good for me and those around me.

Thank you, Matt, for sharing your thoughts about gratitude and inspiring me to engage in more self-reflection. I appreciate you and everyone at The Joseph Group for the opportunity to share what I’m thinking about, too.




Written by Jim Gernetzke, Executive Coach and founder of Nos Lumine