|via @dragonflies_and_dahlias on Instagram|
With this beautiful month of thanksgiving upon us, I've been seeing these three words a lot: grateful, thankful, blessed. Numerous people much more creative than I have designed prints, signs, lettering, etc. centered around these words. These constant reminders have had me pondering a question that has been in the back of my mind for almost as long as I can remember--what is the difference between grateful and thankful?
Most of the time when this question has popped into my consciousness, I would shrug it off as petty semantics. There's not a big enough difference in meaning to really necessitate different uses. However, seeing all of these inspiring designs with the two words placed right next to each other, I felt that there had to be something that I was missing in the meaning, something more that these artists got out of the words, that both needed to be included to give the full desired effect.
|via @lightandsaltdesigns on Instagram|
So, of course, I consulted the internet. I am certainly not the first person to wonder about this, and there are numerous resources immediately available to answer the question. Here is what I gathered:
"Grateful" is almost like a state of being; an attitude. Suddenly, the phrase "attitude of gratitude" has more meaning. To be grateful is to be cognizant of those things around you that are good and praiseworthy and wonderful.
"Thankful" is to actually act upon that gratitude, to express the appreciation that is felt. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we are literally giving thanks, we are thankful for specific things in our lives.
Grateful and thankful go hand in hand. One is not complete without the other. If a person is really, truly grateful, it will overflow from within, and the thankful expressions of gratitude will come naturally. Conversely, a person can hardly be thankful without first recognizing and being aware of the thing to be appreciated. This expression of thanks would be hollow and meaningless.
|via @ruralsigns on Instagram|
Discerning these small but meaningful differences helps me to better understand and be more sincerely grateful and thankful in my life. I want to strive to have a more grateful heart--to be aware of the big and little things each day that warrant appreciation. This is not enough, though. I also need to be more thankful, to actually give thanks for those big and little things. It is only the beginning to mentally recognize those daily sacrifices my husband makes for me, for our family, for our home; I also need to express that appreciation for him and to him. It is wonderful to see the hand of God in my life and know that I am blessed, but I must also show and express that gratitude explicitly.
There is much to be grateful for in this life. I could fill notebooks writing all the things for which I am grateful. When I first thought about this blog post, I imagined I might share a list of some of the things I am most grateful for. Instead, I think I will go out and express my real thankfulness.
May you and yours have a wonderful holiday season,