Quotes on Gratitude and Wonder
THC Editorial Team September 5, 2021
What Is Gratitude?
Many different understandings of gratitude exist, as do definitions of the concept. We often think of gratitude as the appreciation we show to another individual or individuals for something beneficial we receive from them, either tangible or not. However, gratitude can go beyond relationships with others and be defined as an appreciation for the positive elements in one’s life and even the world. In a more spiritual context, being grateful can be described as feeling the presence of the Divine in our lives.1 Various factors can influence a person’s experience of gratitude, but two essential components are an affirmation of goodness in one’s life and the awareness that this goodness can lie in external sources outside of the self.2 These components allow for gratitude to solidify and strengthen relationships and allow for the transformational healing power of gratitude.
The healing power of gratitude is rooted in its ability to promote positive reframing, which changes how we perceive situations and what we pay attention to in our daily lives.3 Taking a step back to objectively notice all the good in one’s life can significantly improve an individual’s state of mind. By altering how we view things to see what is positive, we can shift our attention away from the things that elicit negative emotions. Gratitude also promotes an increased sense of abundance, increasing the happiness and contentment we feel in our lives. Regularly noticing and appreciating the good around us promotes thankfulness and positivity, profoundly impacting our mental well-being.
The following are some of our favorite quotes on gratitude. They have been curated from some of our favorite books, articles, and teachers.
“To be human is to forget to connect to gratitude, to forget to take care of ourselves, to forget to pray. Perhaps we spend more time forgetting than remembering, which makes those brief dips in the sparkling pool of remembering ever more delicious and divine.”4The Wisdom of Anxiety
“To be human is to age. The fine lines in your thirties will deepen to creases in your forties and fifties and beyond. Because we live in a culture that tries to erase the lines, we’re forgetting that our lines tell the stories of our lives: “Look, that’s when I laughed so hard, I cried. Look, that’s when I cried so hard, I crumpled into silence.” And where are the silver-haired women? They’re being dyed out of the culture, so fierce is our fight against time. What we don’t often see is that with aging comes wisdom, with time comes acceptance, and with the shortening of days comes the lengthening of gratitude.”4The Wisdom of Anxiety
“Gratitude is… not only an effect or consequence of happiness but also a creator of happiness, for it allows the affirmation of life’s intrinsic value to flourish and its pains and misfortunes to fall into oblivion.”5Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition
“Sorrow and contentment, grief and beauty, longing and surrender coexist in the realm of sameness… We are not either happy or sad. We are not either grieving or grateful. We are not either content or despairing. We are both/and.”6Bearing the Unbearable
“Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.”7
To Bless the Space Between Us
“When your children see you acknowledging the wonderfulness of your body instead of complaining about what you don’t like about it, they will be far more likely to regard their own bodies — warts and all — with respect, care, and appreciation.”8Parenting with Presence
“Today, God, help me let go of negative thoughts I may be harboring about my past circumstances or relationships. I can accept, with gratitude, all that has brought me to today.”9The Language of Letting Go
“Gratitude for what we have is an important recovery concept. So is believing we deserve the best and making an effort to stop depriving ourselves and start treating ourselves well.”9The Language of Letting Go
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more… Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”9The Language of Letting Go
Robert A. Emmons is a leading scholar of gratitude. The below quotes represent some of his insights on the concept.
“Gratitude is a morally complex disposition, and reducing this virtue to a technique or strategy to improve one’s mood is to do it an injustice.”10Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity
“Gratitude is important not only because it helps us feel good but also because it inspires us to do good.”10Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity
“Gratitude heals, energizes, and transforms lives in myriad ways consistent with the notion that virtue is its own reward and produces other rewards.”10Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity
“…grateful people draw on positive memories of being the recipients of benevolence, a giftedness that is neither earned nor deserved.”10Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity
“Gratitude is like fertilizer for the mind, spreading connections and improving its function in nearly every realm of experience.”10Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity
“Humility is a key to gratitude because living humbly is the truest approach to life.”10Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity
“Gratitude implies humility—a recognition that we could not be who we are or where we are in life without the contributions of others.”10Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity
“…gratitude allows us to participate more fully in life. Instead of adapting to goodness, we celebrate goodness.”11The Gratitude Project
“Consciously cultivating an attitude of gratitude builds up a sort of psychological immune system that can cushion us when we fall.”11The Gratitude Project
“Appreciation is the recognition of that which makes us feel grateful, and can also be expressed internally or externally.”12Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life
“While gratitude is both a feeling and an attitude, thankfulness is the demonstrative expression of it, whether extended to ourselves or others.”12Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life
“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is Heaven.”12As cited in: Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life
“What is good to the grateful… is that which supports life.”13The Art of Gratitude
“Gratefulness shows us that a good life for each of us can only emerge from the world that we share with others.”13The Art of Gratitude
“Looking at the world through grateful eyes, we quickly realize that meaningful work needs to be done, and what the struggle must be. Our struggle is soulful… it is a struggle to ensure that we do not destroy the planet that gives us life, it is a struggle for the earth.”13The Art of Gratitude
Several of the below gratitude quotes are from the transformational teacher Louise Hay’s Gratitude: A Way of Life.
“Thank God for what doesn’t need healing.”14Gratitude: A Way of Life
“Spend time in the silence of your own inner self, appreciating the wonder of who you are.”14Gratitude: A Way of Life
“… if we practice gratitude—living in a consciousness of contentment, being thankful for what we have (even if it is meager), and cultivating inner peace through times of quiet meditation—we will find that joy appears spontaneously.”14Gratitude: A Way of Life
“Gratitude focuses our attention on the good things in life. It takes our blessings and multiplies them. When we joyfully express appreciation, it opens our hearts and allows us to experience more love.”14Gratitude: A Way of Life
“It’s easy to be grateful for the grand things in life, but to be appreciative for “all things” puts you in a powerful, harmonious place.”14Gratitude: A Way of Life
“Gratitude is our way of saying to all situations, “Welcome! I’ve been expecting you! Thank you for being here to help me learn and grow.””14Gratitude: A Way of Life
“To give thanks in solitude is enough. Thanksgiving has wings and goes where it must go. Your prayer knows much more about it than you do.”
“… if the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you,’ it would be enough.”
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”15As cited in: Gratitude and the Good Life, Philip C. Watkins
“When we offer thanks to God or to another human being, gratitude gifts us with renewal, reflection, reconnection.”16The Simple Abundance Journal Of Gratitude