Now Reading
Grateful Vs Thankful: Understand the Concepts

Grateful Vs Thankful: Understand the Concepts

Updated on May 27, 2022

Reviewed by Katina Tarver, MA (Mental Health and Wellness Counseling) , Life Coach

Grateful Vs Thankful - Difference with Examples

Grateful Vs Thankful – are you confused in the terms? Let’s see. Have you ever had a unique day? A day when everything seems like magic. When you help any random stranger. Smile without reason. And the evening sky spellbound you. 

What do you call this feeling? Thankfulness? Gratefulness? Or, both? We often use words grateful and thankful interchangeably. But they differ slightly.

‘Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.’

–  H.F Amiel

Here are some real-life examples. This will make the concept clearer for you.

Grateful Vs Thankful Infographic

Grateful Vs Thankful - Understand the Concepts
Grateful Vs Thankful – Understand the Concepts

What is Gratefulness?

Meaning: Dictionary defines the word grateful as ‘being appreciative of the benefits received.’ Or, ‘showing thanks, especially to another person.’

So, gratefulness involve:

  • Awareness of someone’s kindness.
  • You value it in return. Thus, you share this kindness.
  • Someone else is always present. Be it a sense of Universal power. 

Real-life examples of Gratefulness

Some common instances when you feel grateful are:

  • A cousin in high school helps you in a project.
  • On a rainy day, a colleague offers you a lift.
  • Your friend helps you in solving a math problem.
  • You are nervous about your presentation. Someone motivates you.
  • You were praying for an opportunity. And you got it.

In these situations, we feel grateful. The feeling is towards a person, situation. Or, the Omnipotent. We feel happy. Want to reciprocate this feeling. Hence, we share our emotions with others.

Like, you get an increment in office. You are happy about it. The same day, you meet a needy. You feel for him. Thereby, you give some money to him.

This is because you felt grateful. You got something. It is your duty to share it. This fills a great satisfaction in your heart. 

Ways You Show Gratefulness

You show your gratitude in many ways:

  • Say a ‘heartfelt’ thanks.
  • Give thank- you card.
  • Help them in their jobs.
  • Present them small gifts.

In our daily lives, we often come across such situations. It is easy to move ahead. Not to respond. Or, not thank others. Not to reciprocate it. 

But this makes your existence constrained. It makes your happiness limited.

Sharing it with others lets you expand your happiness. You can smile in others’ eyes. Live in their lives. 

What is Thankfulness?

Meaning: Dictionary defines word thankful as ‘being pleased and relieved’. Or, ‘being conscious of benefits received’.

Hence, thankfulness involve:

  • Internal satisfaction and happiness.
  • You stay happy regardless of a person or situation.
  • You try to expand this happiness. Maybe by sharing.

Real-life examples of Thankfulness

Everyday situations when you feel thankful:

  • You scored quite well in a recent test.
  • Got a book you always wanted to read.
  • People admire your presentation. 
  • You have a beautiful relationship.
  • You saw the night sky. Felt blessed to be alive.

Here, you felt thankful. You have a positivity that you want to hold on. We see life as an opportunity. Time as a gift. Everything gives us hope

Without being happy ourselves, we cannot help others. Thankfulness gives us that chance. To help others. To expand our happiness.

Ways You Show Thankfulness

You show your thankful feeling in many ways:

  • Smile more often.
  • Stay cheerful.
  • Accept others more.
  • Try your best in every life aspect.

Being thankful is the celebration of your life. It makes you realize your value. Thankfulness paves the road that takes you to your soul. 

‘Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die. So, let us be thankful’.

— Buddha

Grateful Vs Thankful

When you are thankful, you love yourself. When grateful, you love your creator. So, both emotions are very subtle. Feel it. This will lead you to understand it. 

The key differences in grateful vs thankful are:

OriginIt is born internally.It springs externally.
CauseYou don’t need a particular cause to be thankful.You need a situation to be grateful.
ExpressionIt is self- directed.You show gratitude to others.
Grateful Vs Thankful

Thus, when thankful, you realize the beauty of life. Being grateful, you share it with others. 

The Cycle of Thankful to Grateful

Thankfulness and gratefulness are complementary. They together complete the cycle of gratitude. 

This involves:

  1. You realize the importance of something, maybe your life.
  2. Feel thankful for it. 
  3. This makes you happy, motivated, and positive.
  4. This bliss expands.
  5. You realize others’ kindness in it.
  6. Feel grateful.
  7. Show it in your deeds.

Thus, you become thankful first. Then grow to be grateful. Hence, you express gratitude at the forefront.

An example:

Take an instance. 

You got your dream job. This made you feel thankful. You are, thus, content. So, you feel happy. Work hard, meditate, etc. Do things to hold this positive feeling. Now, you feel deeper. This connects you with others. You can see others’ kindness or support behind your success. 

Thus, you start showing your gratefulness. You thank them, help them in their lives, etc.

This is the completion of the thankful – grateful cycle. 

Importance of Being Thankful

‘There’s no happier person than a truly thankful, content person.’

Joyce Meyer

Be thankful. It is the first step in your growth. The nature of your life depends upon it. Being thankful adds so much to you:

  • You love and understand yourself more.

 Thus, you can analyze your daily- life situations better.

You make out the importance of what you have. So, value them even more.

  • You tend to enjoy every situation of your life. 
  • It makes you stronger. 
  • You accept yourself regardless of others’ notions. 
  • This develops your personality.
  • Thankfulness develops a positive attitude. This is essential for your growth.
  • This develops intra-personal skills. 
  • It is a key step to your spiritual journey.

Scientific reports also encourage thankful practice. It ensures your mental, emotional and psychological well being. 

Importance of Being Grateful

‘Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts’.

H. F. Amiel

Our life is incomplete without others. All we are linked to each other. Thus, being grateful makes us grow. It makes your life better:

  • You empathize with others.
  • It ensures your mental and emotional well-being.
  • You understand and accept others better. This helps you avoid conflicts.
  • Your thought process determines your perception. Being grateful lets you deal efficiently with others.
  • It makes you a better person.
  • You have healthier relationships.
  • This hones your inter-personal skills.
  • You feel calm inside. 

Thus, you expand your existence when you share. 

It is good to be happy. More important is to be happy with others. 

How to Be Grateful vs Thankful?

Thinking is important. Execution is even more. So, embrace these practices in your daily life. Don’t just think about thankful vs grateful. Instead, practice it.

Here are the ways to be thankful and grateful:

  • Every morning, thank the supreme power for this life.
  • Before falling asleep, recall good things that happened to you in the day.
  • Have a quality time for yourself. Meditate, read, dance, etc. Do anything that you love.
  • Keep a diary or journal. Write all the beautiful memories in it.
  • Show your love to your dear ones. No one is omniscient. You need to express your feelings.
  • Help others. Cuddle your loved ones. Present them simple gifts. Say a few words of care.
  • Be positive. Accept others. Don’t judge people.
  • Give genuine compliments to others.
  • Smile, laugh and share. It will create a positive air around you.

When love is the driving force behind doing something, it gives you the necessary drive and motivation. It helps you to go on with the process and not give up until the goal is achieved.

Being thankful and then grateful is a complete process. It takes time. Don’t force it over you. Do it smoothly. 

Grateful vs Thankful – The Concluding Words 

“If you only say one prayer in a day, make it ‘Thank You’.” 


Gratefulness and thankfulness are positive emotions. You grow your inner self by this. Often, we automatically respond with a ‘thanks’. This is incomplete without connecting your real emotions. 

When you value your existence, you are thankful. You share this positivity being grateful. This expands your soul. You live your life. Your success is incomplete without learning to reciprocate it. Your small actions can make others’ day. These small days make your life. 

Article Sources


Scroll To Top
We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.
Privacy Policy