This week I’ve been reading Kate Northrup’s new book Do Less (and I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a chronic do-er like me!). I want to share something that really jumped out at me, that may be helpful to you. She recommends focusing on appreciation, as opposed to gratitude. She says “appreciation has an even more attractive vibration than gratitude because it’s purely about noticing what we like about what’s in front of us instead of gratitude, which is often about liking what’s in front of us as compared to what could be in front of us or what used to be in front of us.”
This is a really fascinating distinction to me. I’ve talked before about the importance of gratitude (here) and I still think it’s vital to feel and express it, but she makes a very interesting point. Appreciation may be an even more powerful tool. Appreciation feels easier and lighter to me than gratitude. I think this is because often when I’m grateful for something, there’s a tiny bit of fear mixed in. Like, I’m grateful that we’re all healthy (because that might change in the future).
Gratitude can also involve judgment—I’m grateful for something because it benefits me in some way—but appreciation just is. It’s the difference between being grateful for sunshine on your beach vacation (because rain would keep you inside and that would suck) and appreciating how the sunlight sparkles on the water as you sit by the ocean.
Northrup says, “I can simultaneously feel an energy of gratitude that my daughter is taking an awesome nap that I know will last another 40 minutes at least. But this is more in contrast to how it used to be when her naps were unpredictable and often lasted only 20 minutes. Do you see the difference? … How I feel about my daughter napping right now has to do with the moment but more in terms of how this moment relates to a moment in the past and feels better than it used to. … Both of these feelings have a place, for sure, but what we want to be shooting for as often as possible is pure appreciation for what’s in front of us, as opposed to gratitude for what’s in front of us in contrast to how bad it could be or how bad it used to be. Make sense? It’s a quarter turn that will make a world of difference.”
What do you think? I’d love to hear your take on this! Hit reply to this email and let me know, or comment below!