Many people think gratitude and thankfulness are the same things. Are they? Let’s explore these two well-used terms and see how each one works.

How often do you hear the words “thank you“, or the shortened version “thanks”? Every time you lend a hand to a friend, they acknowledge it by saying they’re thankful to you. Helping out other people, making them happy and memorable — are associated as favours given to them. 

However, whenever you receive or hear these words of gratitude, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Is it out of gratitude, or they are just simply thankful? Well, to help you assert your thoughts.

Let’s first learn the difference between ‘gratitude’ and ‘thankfulness’. Although these are typically mistaken as a similar way to express the excellent karma we receive in life, thankfulness and gratitude are two different matters. 

Are you Thankful or Grateful?

Ideally, you would be grateful which is a feeling, and you would express thanks for the feeling of gratefulness. Does that make sense? Regardless, everyone should be saying thank you—no matter who they are, what company they work for, or how busy their schedule is.

Research shows that thanking people makes them feel good about themselves and even encourages them to work harder (because if they aren’t working hard enough for someone else, why should they do it at all?). When we don’t say thank you, we show a lack of manners; more importantly, we risk making those around us feel taken for granted and less appreciated. So whether you’re running your own business or just responding to an email from your boss, remember to take time out of your day to thank others. They may just remember it next time around!

Are Gratitude and Thankfulness the Same? - All Free Thank You Notes

What Exactly is Gratitude?

Gratitude focuses more on actions: the paths you take and things you do to express how thankful you are. Gratitude can be shown in many ways, like preparing meals, helping someone without expecting a return of favour, or simply spending quality time with your loved ones to remind them how grateful you are. Gratitude can be a way of life for those who focus on it regularly. Use gratitude as part of your daily mantra. Be grateful for the things you have and your health.

On the other hand, thankfulness often means nothing more than saying the word, “Thank you”. Uttering these simple thankful words is already a good act and a respectful behaviour; however, responding with these words is usually a course of habit. If somebody hands us our coffee, we say thank you, if somebody lets us into the traffic lane, we often wave our thanks. It’s not often heartfelt, it is more like a reflexive response, a kind of light on the tongue. 

Are you thankful?

If the idea of the difference between gratitude and thankfulness is still a bit vague, no worries, you will see the bigger picture as you read through. There is a pretty good chance you could be feeling both thankful and grateful, in which case you are probably a decent person.


What is Gratitude?

  • Gratitude is gratefulness in action. 
  • Grateful is a sense of feeling that happens at a deeper level that comes from within your heart.
  • It’s a way of showing how pleased you are since you received an act of kindness. 
  • You feel grateful not only for the people you appreciate but also for things that you think have been of great help to you in your life. You may be grateful for things that don’t come from others, such as your health or being in a fortunate situation.

When you feel gratitude toward someone, you may feel a sense of appreciation for that person even many years later.


What is Thankfulness?

  • A polite behaviour expressing an appreciation for the kindness or gift received. Unfortunately, society has conditioned people to be fleetingly thankful rather than grateful.
  • It can be an automatic response most of the time. But, just like a habit, you habitually say thank you to the people who have done something for you, even if that person is paid to do the thing.
  • The act of thankfulness usually lasts for only a short moment. You will likely never remember the guy who opened the door for you ten years ago.

To put it simply… 

Gratitude is being grateful for the acts of kindness you received. 

Meanwhile, thankfulness is a quick-wit response of being appreciative, which usually lasts only for a short period. For example, did someone open the door for you? Immediately you respond with “thank you” for the simple kindness.


Are Gratitude and Thankfulness the Same? - All Free Thank You Notes