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16 Examples of Gratitude

Gratitude is the state of being thankful for what one has received. This is a foundational type of thinking, emotion and character trait that is considered a universal aspect of culture and human behavior. The following are illustrative examples of gratitude.


Joy, or happiness, can be described as a feeling that life, or some aspect of life, is good. This is essentially a type of gratitude. As such, to say that gratitude and happiness are correlated is an understatement as it could be argued that they are synonymous.

Gratitude for the Future

Hope and optimism can generate a sense of gratitude for all the good things that may happen. This would appear to be a potent tool for manufacturing happiness.

Abundance Mentality

Abundance mentality is the belief there is enough for everyone such that the successes of others don't diminish your own success. This tends to boost gratitude as you can be thankful for your life without need for comparisons that generate negative emotions such as jealousy.


Schadenfreude is a sense of joy or gratitude for the misfortunes of others. This is considered a negative but common experience that may result from social comparison whereby an individual feels they are comparatively better off when others fail. Schadenfreude is characteristic of a low bar whereby an individual is easily satisfied with themselves because at least someone else is worse off.


Every major language has some way to express gratitude with words that can be roughly translated "thank you."


Informal rules of politeness often call for expressions of gratitude. For example, the expectation that you thank people for small kindnesses or services.


In my life, why do I smile
At people who I'd much rather kick in the eye?
~ The Smiths, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, 2nd Refrain
Some feel that norms of politeness that call for gratitude are insincere and phony where gratitude isn't felt. According to this theory, we should all act out our emotions as opposed to following shared conventions that are likely to foster cooperation and civility.

False Gratitude

False gratitude is the act of pretending to have feelings of gratitude. This shouldn't be confused with following norms such as thanking people where expected. False gratitude is a social strategy that can be used to achieve social aims such as building relationships. As with false praise, this is thoroughly rejected in some cultures as insincere and manipulative. Other cultures view false gratitude as an acceptable way to try to be nice.


Overgratitude is a true feeling of gratitude that is beyond what others might view as rational. This is potentially a gift as it may create much joy but could also create problems such as mediocrity. For example, a musician who is just grateful to be in a band such that they don't push very hard to create good music.


Gratitude is a central theme of philosophy and religion. For example, religion often calls for expressions of gratitude towards a deity.


Stoicism is a philosophy that adopts a peculiar approach to gratitude as stoics defer judgement on what is good or bad. This is illustrated in a well known story, known as the chinese farmer parable.


Appreciation is the ability to see good in things, including things that may seem everyday but are kinda amazing when if you really think about them deeply. For example, a sense of wonder at the complexity of the human body or life in general.


Positivity is a focus on the goodness and possibilities in things. This is a wonderful character trait or effort that creates much gratitude.

Delusional Positivity

Positivity can go beyond appreciation of realities into appreciation based on delusion. For example, gratitude for wonderful traits that you don't actually possess such as an individual who delights in their own genius when in fact they aren't a genius. This can be problematic as detachment from reality can bring negative real world results that eventually flood back at a person possibly pushing them further into delusion.


Melancholy is a term for sadness that can have slightly positive connotations suggesting that it is an enjoyably deep feeling. In other words, it is possible to feel a sense of gratitude for one's sadness with the view that sadness is a worthy element of the human experience. For example, nostalgia is a type of sadness that often feels strangely enjoyable.


Ingratitude is a failure to take an opportunity for gratitude. This can be the source of much regret and lament if you failed to thank someone for helping you out in life.
Overview: Gratitude
Definition (1)
The state of being thankful for what one has received.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about positivity.
False Hope
Good Habits
Life Is Fair
Personal Growth
Positive Expectations
Toxic Positivity
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The definition of positivity with examples.


The definition of hope with examples.

Personality Strengths

A list of personality strengths.

Toxic Positivity

The definition of toxic positivity with examples.


An overview of habits with examples.

Personal Growth

An overview of personal growth with examples.


An overview of self-esteem with examples and counterexamples.

Positive Expectations

An overview of positive expectations with examples.

Self Improvement Examples

An overview of self-improvement with examples.

Personal Development

An overview of personal development with examples.

Personality Characteristics

A list of personality characteristics.

Life Design

The definition of life design with examples.


An overview of overprotection with examples.


A useful list of strengths.
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