Grateful vs. Thankful, What’s the Difference?

Grateful vs. Thankful, What’s the Difference?

As I sat down to think about all that I am grateful for on this Thanksgiving, I started to wonder, what’s the difference in being grateful vs. thankful?

Do you ever notice how we use some words interchangeably without really knowing if they mean the same thing? We tend to do this with grateful vs. thankful, and toss is gratitude and thankfulness as if they are synonyms.

To determine if they truly do mean the same thing, the first place I started was a quick google search for the definitions of grateful vs. thankful.

Grateful vs. Thankful according to Merrium-Webster

And here is what I found:

Definition of grateful

1a: appreciative of benefits received

1b: expressing gratitude grateful thanks

2a: affording pleasure or contentment PLEASING

2b: pleasing by reason of comfort supplied or discomfort alleviated

Definition of thankful

1: conscious of benefit received for what we are about to receive make us truly thankful

2: expressive of thanksthankful service

3: well pleased GLAD was thankful that it didn’t rain

Is being grateful the same thing as thankful after all?

When you look at the definitions of grateful vs. thankful, there isn’t really much discernible difference.

In fact, Merriam-Webster seems to almost use the two words interchangeably and as synonyms.

Well… ALMOST.

If you pay close attention you’ll notice that they list thankful as a synonym for grateful, but grateful is NOT listed as a synonym for thankful. They do, however, list gratified as a synonym for thankful.

Weird, right? What’s up with that?

As I was reading the definitions on the screen with grateful vs. thankful, I couldn’t make a huge distinction between the definitions, it still felt like there WAS an actualy difference. The fact that they aren’t both considered synonyms for each other seemed to mean something in my mind.

The key is in the difference between gratitude and thankfulness

When I thought about it, the thing that distinguishes the two ideas to me is the idea of possession.

You can HAVE gratitude. It’s something you possess. Even as you express your gratitude, it feels like it’s something that is deeply felt inside of you.

When I think about being thankful and showing thanks, I don’t have a sense that this is something that I can hold and feel and keep inside of me the same way that I can HAVE gratitude.

Perhaps part of this is because we use the word “thanks” or “thank you” incredible casually nowadays.

We give thanks to people all the time whether we truly mean it or not. It’s just a standard reply for things as small as getting change from a cashier or someone letting you know you dropped your receipt at the grocrey store.

But to say that we are grateful for something feels a bit weightier. It feels like there’s almost a ritual to it.

Think about it. If someone picks up an item you dropped and handed it to you, you might say “I appreciate it, thanks.” Or something to that effect, but will you ever say “I am grateful to you for that.”

There is a formality to the idea of gratitude and being grateful vs. thankful that is worth distinguishing.

This formality behind gratitude to me stems from the notion that gratitude IS something that happens inside of us, and while we can express that gratitude as thanks to a person, the gratitude really is MOST beneficial for US, not THEM.

Think about it.

Having a gratitude practice isn’t something we do show someone else how much we love and appreciate them. It’s something we do to remind ourselves of what we are grateful for because it makes us feel better about life.

Thanks, on the other hand, is something that we show to someone else. Perhaps it is almost a manifestation of gratitude.

But hey, I’m no expert on the subject, just giving my two cents on my sense about whether there’s a real difference when it comes to grateful vs. thankful. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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Should Moms Stop Complaining About SAHM Life?

Should Moms Stop Complaining About SAHM Life?

Gratitude in and for this SAHM life (stay-at-home-mom life), has been on my mind for a while as I navigate my own ship through motherhood, but today I came across something that put it on full blast.

Today I was nursing a toddler back to sleep and naturally googling stay-at-home-mom memes to pass the time and I came across this blog post entitled “Dear Stay at Home Moms, Please Shut Up” on the blog Momlife and Margaritas all about how SAHM life isn’t as hard as moms make it out to be.

I was ready to be annoyed. I wanted to be pissed. I wanted to get into the comments and point out all the ways she was being an idiot… but then I read it.

…and I think maybe she has a point.

The first thing that won me over to her side was the fact that she is also a stay-at-home-mom. She gets a pass to be just a teeny bit harsh with fellow SAHM’s since she’s on the same field of play we are.

This post is clearly written in a bit of an inflammatory way to get attention and be a little funny, and I have a few quibbles (like the section about letting yourself go).

But… maybe she’s right and our perspective is just really off. Maybe it’s time for a SAHM life reality check.

I’ll admit it has taken me some time to acclimate to the idea that I am truly a stay-at-home-mom, and I’m living this SAHM life for the foreseeable future.

It wasn’t what I planned on growing up, and although it is literally a dream come true, a dream I didn’t even admit to myself for a long time, it’s easy to get bogged down in the bullshit details of SAHM life instead of seeing the big picture.

That’s what this article I read did for me.

I think about the fact that I am extremely lucky all the time and that I should be in a constant state of gratitude, but this post just really hit the nail on the head, like with this section:

“Plenty of moms not only have laundry to do but they have to save their quarters and drag their squirming toddler to a laundromat for two hours each week after working full time. If their kid barfs all over their comforter at 3 am they are screwed. Shut the F up about the laundry, it’s not that serious.”

We do have real issues to deal with as stay-at-home-moms, but the ones we complain about the most are usually things that are absolute bullshit.

Like how I complain all the time about being my kids’ snack bitch.

Let me paint a picture. Here I am in my nice rural home. I live in one of the safest places in the world with a pantry full of food mostly organic and sourced from Whole Foods. I pretty much afford to buy whatever food I want whenever I want it. I do not have to worry about whether my kids will eat. We aren’t super-wealthy, but healthy food is a priority for us and we make it work.

My biggest worry is having to get my kids like 100 snacks every day. That is not something to worry about or even be stressed about.

That is something to be thankful for. I have the ability to feed my kids ALL THE SNACKS ALL DAY without worry. So why am I worried? Why am I not in a constant state of gratitude?

Well, I’m working on it, but you know what I think the real issue might be?

The demands of modern motherhood aren’t hard for many living the SAHM life when it comes to basic things like doing the laundry, dishes, cleaning up…

It’s that we have those duties plus the mental strain that comes with being a mom, having little support, and finding ourselves more and more isolated with Facebook groups or Instagram being our final place of connection.

We hide what’s really going on below the surface with jokes about being a mombie, having so many baby socks to pair up, or picky eaters.

The loneliness, the postpartum depression, the stay-at-home-mom depression, the pressure to be perfect at a job that is impossible to be perfect at, the guilt when we aren’t perfect, the mom-shaming leveled at us when all we are doing is our best…

These things aren’t as easy to joke about as the piles of laundry.

What if it’s easier to just complain about all the laundry instead of admitting we are depressed, which is making it hard to do the laundry (and a lot of basic tasks).

Maybe we just have these silly things that we complain about as a way of actually finding that connection with other moms. Making friends and building a community is so hard. Sharing horror stories about baby diaper blowouts is a way to begin those connections with limited vulnerability.

SAHM life IS hard. There are frustrations, there are messes, there is even anger when the toddler is literally tap dancing on the dinner table for the 1,000th time that day after drawing on the walls. Momlife and Margaritas acknowledges this.

I do think that we need to get some perspective sometimes on all the problems we think are huge, but are truly tiny.

BUT we also need to acknowledge that perhaps the complaints are just a cover-up for what’s happening to us on a much deeper level as we try to live our best SAHM life.

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30 Day Gratitude Challenge and Gratitude Prompts

30 Day Gratitude Challenge and Gratitude Prompts

Practicing gratitude is a proven way to increase happiness, and gratitude challenge is an awesome way to get into the habit of appreciating all you have.

These 30 days of gratitude prompts that will help you kick off a gratitude challenge so you can make journaling and keeping a gratitude journal a habit is a great place to start!

What is a gratitude challenge?

It’s super simple! You just make the intention of focusing on gratitude for a certain period of time so that you can get into the habit of practicing gratitude every day.

How to do a gratitude challenge?

All you have to do to follow along with this gratitude challenge is to grab yourself a journal or place to write. That can be either in a phsyical journal or notebook, or you can use a note app on your phone.

Then bookmark this page so you can refer to it daily for 30 days.

Finally, put it on your calendar. Set an alarm to go off each day on your calendar or alarm app to ensure you don’t forget! But of course, if you do miss a day or two, no big deal! Just start. Progress is better than perfection.

Ready? Awesome! Let’s do this!

 

Just check out the list of 30 gratitude prompts and get ready to start your gratitude challenge.

  1. Set a timer for 5 minutes and list as much as you can that you’re grateful for in that time.
  2. Pick one thing from your list and spend 5 minutes journaling on that one thing and why you are grateful for it.
  3. What from your list do you give the least attention to and why? Journal about how to can show more appreciation for it.
  4. What’s not on the list? What do you want to be on there that’s missing?
  5. What are you grateful about NOT being in your life? Is there something you released or let go of that has added to your well being?
  6. Choose a person in your life you are grateful for and write about why.
  7. What about your self? What are you grateful for about yourself?
  8. How is your life different than it was a year ago, and why are you grateful for that change? 
  9. What is something you’ve been taking for granted?
  10. Look outside your door or window. What is something you see that you are grateful for?
  11. Who is a teacher or mentor who has impacted your life? Journal about why you are grateful for how they helped you.
  12. What is one thing you accomplished today?
  13. Look around the room. List all of the things you see that you are grateful for.
  14. Think of a quote that you love and write about why.
  15. Write about your favorite creative activity and why.
  16. What upcoming activity or plan are you looking forward to?
  17. Write about a moment in your life that brought you pure joy.
  18. What do you love about your body?
  19. What is something someone has done for you recently?
  20. How have you helped someone else recently?
  21. Write about where you live. Your neighborhood or city. What do you love about it?
  22. What is your greatest strength?
  23. What is your favorite food?
  24. What do you love about your job?
  25. What is your favorite season and why?
  26. Is there something in your life that is bothering you? How can you turn around into a positive?
  27. Family. What does family mean to you?
  28. What have you improved on? A goal reached or gotten closer to?
  29. What is a place you are grateful for having visited?
  30. How do you feel about having completed this gratitude challenge?

Feeling more grateful? How has participating in a gratitude challenge changed your day-to-day life? Are you more centered? Happier? Feel more connected to yourself and those around you? Let me know in the comments!

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Gratitude is the Attitude Moms Need + How to Get it

Gratitude is the attitude many of us WANT to cultivate as a mom, but we have so much on our minds, and sometimes remembering how much we have to appreciate and be grateful for gets put on the backburner.

While gratitude is the attitude we know we *should* be focusing on, we also have a tendency to focus on problems, on not having enough time, being stressed, or overwhelmed. 

To be fair, it is kind of our job to worry about all the things. Mama bears are known for their protectiveness and fierceness when it comes to looking out for our cubs. 

We think of all the things that could go wrong and how we can avoid it. We think of everyone’s needs and ensure they are met, sometimes before the person even knows what they need themselves.

But with these mom superpowers of foresight and multitasking comes a cost. That cost can be negativity instead of an attitude of gratitude. 

As we focus on prevented disasters and keeping everyone happy, we forget about all the things that are going right in our lives and what makes US happy.

It occurred to me the other day that I pretty much have everything I want in life. A husband I love, a beautiful home, an incredibly adorable and smart daughter plus twin sons. 

However, I’ve always had this feeling like it’s not enough. I need more. To be better. To be more productive. To be a better mom. To have more sex. To go on more vacations. I always want more, more, more. 

On one hand, it’s a good thing. I’m ambitious, driven, and am always up for a challenge. On the other, it’s a bad thing. If I’m always searching for something else, something more, something better, I can’t and won’t enjoy the now. 

I can’t feel the joy that is already present in my life. And what’s worse is when I do finally achieve whatever I’ve set my eyes on, I’ll be so quick to move onto the next thing and not take the time to savor the win I just had or the goal I’ve just achieved. 

Isn’t that a trap we can easily fall into as mothers? It’s so easy to always be reaching for the next phase of raising our kids because newborns are hard, then teething is hard, then the two’s and tantrums are hard, and it keeps going. 

Parenting is hard. Period.

If we aren’t mindful we can get wrapped up in waiting for it to get easier before we truly appreciate and enjoy our days with these little humans. The truth is it will never get easy. 

We have to learn to be grateful for the hard, for the mess, for the whirlwind of motherhood… and revel in it.

Easier said than done, right?

So HOW exactly do we cultivate gratitude? My absolute favorite way is through journaling, and starting a gratitude journal.

What is a gratitude journal?

It’s as simple as it sounds. A place where you  write down what you are grateful for and what you appreciate. It can be at regular intervals, like daily, weekly, monthly, or you could just do it when the mood strikes. 

(Though to get the most benefit from gratitude journaling, I suggest making it a daily practice.)

Why a gratitude journal?

There is plenty of evidence to show that keeping a gratitude journal can make you happier and even healthier! Sometimes it’s the simplest practices that we need to cultivate. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/12/24/678232331/if-you-feel-thankful-write-it-down-its-good-for-your-health

Research suggests that there are a ton of benefits in noting what you’re grateful for each day including:  

Yale studies say a gratitude journal will result in higher alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy.

Stanford offers a high-demand class leveraging gratitude journals, which made students 27% less stressed. 

Harvard studies indicate gratitude improves health and strengthens relationships.  

UC-Berkeley research indicates a gratitude journal improves sleep and decreases illness.  

Columbia research says gratitude improves the immune system, while reducing anxiety and/or depression. 

How do you start a gratitude journal?

There are many ways to do this, but it can be as simple as pulling out your notes app and writing down three things you’re grateful each day. If it makes more sense for you, you can jot down what you are grateful for in the mornings to set the tone for your day. 

Start by choosing the lowest possible bar you can. Don’t expect yourself to write 10 pages of things you’re grateful for every single day. Start small and reasonable by choose to journal in a way that works for you.

Maybe you hate typing on your phone so you keep a little journal and a pen next to your bed so you can get your thoughts down and always have the materials you need easily at hand. Perhaps you can just write in a freeform way on your computer while your baby is having that afternoon nap, or email it to yourself every day while the baby naps in your arms. 

The point is to figure out what is actually achievable for you. Then just get started!

Where do you buy a gratitude journal?

My favorite places to shop for journals is either on Amazon, or at a local TJ Maxx. Local discount shops like TJ Maxx, Homegoods, etc. usually have really beautiful notebooks and journals for super cheap.

I also LOVE to use small Moleskin notebooks because I can stick them in a purse or even keep them stashed throughout the house so that when the mood strikes I can get some journaling in. 

You can find my favs below:

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude might take time and practice, but gratitude is the attitude that moms can learn to embrace to be a happier, heathier and better mom all around. 

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25 Christmas Bucket List Ideas for Moms

25 Christmas Bucket List Ideas for Moms

Need ideas for your Christmas bucket list? These are the 25 things I chose to add to ours this year, and am sharing to give you a bit of inspiration. But before we dive in... What is a Christmas bucket list? Simple. It's just a list of activities you want to do during...