We know that word. It means to be grateful. You know ... "I appreciate what you did for me." It is when we recognize and enjoy someone's good qualities or actions. The truth is, I'm sorry to say, I think we do it too rarely. Too often we're so focused on our own concerns that we don't see the positives in others. The other truth is I don't think we fully appreciate the word (little play on words there).
The word has its roots in French (appréciation) derived from Latin (appretiatio) based on a verb that means "to set a price" or "to appraise". We can see that in English, as well, when we use "appreciation" to refer to the increase in value of some asset. If something decreases in value, we say it "depreciates" and if it increases, it "appreciates". In this basis, then, we can also see the other definition -- "a full understanding of a situation". In this use you might read that "she failed to appreciate my predicament." She didn't grasp it. Or, she improperly valued it. You see? Again, the valuation.
The term, then, is best understood that way -- a valuation. We might appreciate someone's kindness because we value it and we would be grateful, a valid synonym for "showing appreciation". We might fully appreciate the difficulties people are facing because we have a proper valuation of their circumstances. Appreciation.
I think that this is the key to our failure to be grateful. "Ungrateful?" some might protest. "Us?" Yes, us. All of us. Scripture cites this condition as the root of our sin problem. "Although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened." (Rom 1:21) That's at the core of our error. We know Him, but we fail to honor Him or thank Him. In terms of "appreciation", we fail to properly value Him.
In fact, I'm pretty sure this is a standard problem for humans. Just as we fail to properly value God, we fail to properly value those around us. Wives are not grateful for their husbands because they fail to see his value and husbands are not grateful for their wives because they fail to see her value. We aren't grateful for other people in our lives because we fail to see their value. What we need to do is to appreciate them. That is, we need to increase their value in our eyes. It may be people, things, or circumstances, even the unpleasant ones. When we fail to properly value God and that which He gives us, we will fail to appreciate Him and be grateful for Him and all that He provides. Something to consider on a day we spend attempting to properly value God's worth-ship.