Appreciation for one's good fortune accompanied by thankfulness to those who contribute to it.

Complementary virtues

Contrasting vices

  • churlishness
  • entitlement
  • ingratitude
  • spite is in a way a sort of dark-complement to gratitude (instead of repaying kindness with thankfulness, it replies to injury with bitterness); this may imply that forgiveness is a sort of diagonal-complement to gratitude

Virtues possibly in tension


How to acquire or strengthen it

“[T]ake 5-10 minutes each night to write down five things for which you are grateful. They can be little things or big things. But you really have to focus on them and actually write them down (…try to develop a tracking method works for you and utilize a note on your phone, a daily calendar, a special notebook, etc). You can just write a word or short phrase, but as you write these things down, take a moment to be mindful of the things you’re writing about (e.g., imagine the person or thing you’re writing about, etc.).” [from the coursera class on The Science of Wellbeing]

Learning to appreciate something in-the-moment can be useful in remembering to express gratitude for it later on, so “savoring” can be worth cultivating in this regard.

Notes and links

Mentioned elsewhere

Inspirational quotes

  • “The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.” —George Eliot
  • “The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one.” —Russell Lynes
  • “No duty is more necessary than the fulfillment of gratitude.” ―Cicero
  • “Benevolence gladdens constantly the grateful; the ungrateful, however, but once.” ―Seneca
  • “In all things we should try to make ourselves be as grateful as possible. For gratitude is a good thing for ourselves, in a manner in which justice, commonly held to belong to others, is not. Gratitude pays itself back in large measure.” —Seneca, Moral Letters 81.19
  • “A grateful mind / by owing, owes not, but still pays — at once / indebted, and discharged.” ―Milton
  • “Don’t set your mind on things you don’t possess as if they were yours, but count the blessings you actually possess and think how much you would desire them if they weren’t already yours. But watch yourself, that you don’t value these things to the point of being troubled if you should lose them.” —Marcus Aurelius (Meditations 7.27)
  • “Who is rich? He that rejoices in his Portion.” (Poor Richard’s Almanac)