Thankful or Grateful?

December 06, 2019

Blog Archives

With Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror and the upcoming exits of Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years quickly approaching, I just have one question for you this month.  And no, it's not "Are you ready?" (Because really, are we ever completely ready?)

My question for you is:
"Are you Thankful or Grateful?"



You may think that is difference without distinction.  Many do.  I did.  And I suspect many of you spent time last week reflecting on, speaking about and receiving thankfulness.  Which is a fabulous tradition we have here in the states (in addition to the turkey, pumpkin pie, etc).  But were you really thankful?  Or was it grateful?  Was I really thankful?  Or grateful?


Our Thanksgiving last week was a tale of two cities.  Such an enjoyable time spent with my husbands brothers' family.  The highlight this year was the song game my brother-in-law forced on us, and specifically the singing (ok, shouting) of lyrics with my nieces and sister-in-law to "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor.  We taught that song to my nieces years ago on a previous Thanksgiving visit, and the fact that they remembered and sang each verse with such vigor brought joy and fond memories of teaching them that song and playing it over and over again until they mastered it.  

The other side of the two city tale was sorrow as we watched their beloved dog, Oreo, pass away.  She was a family member for 12 years and the pain, grief and sadness of the death of that dear little buddy was difficult for all.  Oreo was a force, and will be deeply missed.  

Both of these events happened on Thanksgiving.  And what I am clear about is that I wasn't thankful.  I was grateful.   Thanks often just doesn't cut it for me.  Although I do say it often, as that's what most of us have been trained to do.  To say thank you.  Usually in a response or reaction to something.  It's what we say to the stranger when he holds the door open.  Or to the person when she helps you pick up something you drop.  Or to the cashier who gives you your change when purchasing a bottle of water.  Thank you.  It's not that Thanks isn't appropriate.  It is.

It often just doesn't seem like enough.  

Grateful seems much more lasting.  Deeper.  More significant.  More moving.  More emotional.  Thankful is defined as "pleased and relieved," while grateful is defined as "an emotion of the heart, excited by a favor or benefit received."  Which is a reason why I was more grateful than thankful last Thursday.  Grateful for the enduring relationships with my nieces and their parents.  Grateful for Oreo's life well lived as she loved and supported these people I care so much about.

As we speed down the road toward this holiday season, I am grateful to you!  Readers of this blog.  Clients of my company.  Supporters of my work.  I am conscious of the benefits received from your support over the past four years since starting this work and this company.   I am Grateful.

Warm holiday wishes for you and yours.  May it be filled with Gratefulness!

Kate Johnson
Blog Archives