The 36 Best Quotes About Ungratefulness That Will Shift Your Mindset

Gratitude is a core component of true happiness. It is hard to be happy without it. When we cultivate and express gratitude, that positive energy perpetuates itself and brings in even more feelings of happiness, contentment, and abundance than we started. Equally, being ungrateful and not cultivating gratitude in one’s life perpetuates feelings of discontentment and frustration. These are the results of several studies on the power and importance of developing and expressing gratitude.

We have included a list of interesting and enlightening quotes about ungratefulness in this article. Read through the quotes and check with yourself to see if you have been ungrateful lately. If you have been, keep on reading because later in the article, we will look at some studies on the benefits of gratitude and how to cultivate more of it in your day-to-day life.

Quotes About Ungratefulness

“A grateful person is rich in contentment. An ungrateful person suffers in the poverty of endless discontentment.” – David A. Bednar

“Ungrateful people breed negativity. No one gets any pleasure from giving to an ungrateful person. When you show appreciation, the object of your attention blossoms and flourishes.” – Paul McCabe

“Lord, grant me the serenity to accept selfish, ungrateful people who they are, and the courage to maintain self-control, and the wisdom not to let it happen again.” – Unknown

“A complaining tongue reveals an ungrateful heart.” – William Arthur Ward

“One ungrateful person does an injury to all needy people.” – Publilius Syrus

“There is no greater difference between men than between grateful and ungrateful people.” – R.H. Blyth

“He that calls a man ungrateful sums up all the veil that a man can be guilty of.” – Jonathan Swift

“Ungrateful people forget what they are not grateful for.” – Ana Monnar

“You cannot, at the very same time, be grateful and unhappy, or ungrateful and happy.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“You’ll never see a happy ungrateful person.” – Zig Ziglar

“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” – William Shakespeare

“An ungrateful man is like a hog under a tree eating acorns, but never looking up to see where they come from.” – Timothy Dexter

Quotes About Ungratefulness

“But the forgetful person can never become grateful; the benefit received is totally lost to him.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“Ungrateful are those who wish their life away. Ungrateful are those who turn their backs on others. Ungrateful are they who waste and horde. Ungrateful are they who take advantage of the weak.” – Karalayne Maglinte

“The saddest of all hearts is one without gratitude.” – Tom Krause

“Even though many people prove to be ungrateful, do not let that stop you from benefiting others-for not only is beneficence in itself a noble and almost divine quality, it may also happen that while you practice it, you will encounter someone so grateful that he will make up for all the others’ ingratitude.” – Francesco Guicciardini

“Abundance and prosperity begin with gratitude and appreciation.” – Anthon St. Maarten

“Ingratitude is a crime more despicable than revenge, which is only returning evil for evil, while ingratitude returns evil for good.” – William George Jordan

“Ingratitude is always a kind of weakness. I have never known men with the ability to be ungrateful.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“Don’t hang out with people who are: ungrateful, unhelpful, unruly, unkindly, unloving, unambitious, unmotivated, or make you feel uncomfortable.” – Germany Kent

“If you help the same person too many times. They’ll start believing that you are obliged to help them and become ungrateful.” – Unknown

‘Ungrateful people complain about the one thing you haven’t done for them instead of being thankful for the thousands of things you have done for them.’ – Unknown

“If one is entitled to everything, then one is thankful for nothing.” – Christopher Peterson

“We are given this beautiful life, this beautiful world, and we destroy it with ingratitude and hate.” – Marty Rubin

an ungrateful person suffers in life

“Sometimes the situation is only a problem because it is looked at in a certain subjective, negative, ungrateful way.” – Edward de Bono

“I believe the best definition of man is the ungrateful biped.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“If you’ve got a billion dollars and you’re ungrateful, you’re a poor man. If you have very little, but you’re grateful for what you have, you’re truly rich.” – Tony Robbins

“To awaken gratitude in the ungrateful were as vain as to try to wake the dead by cries.” – Oscar Wilde

“If nature has been frugal in her gifts and endowments, there is the need for art to supply her defects. If she has been generous and liberal, know that she still expects industry and application on our part and revenge herself in proportion to our negligent ingratitude. The richest genius, like the most fertile soil, when uncultivated, shoots up into the rankest weeds; and instead of vines and olives for the pleasure and use of man, produces, to its slothful owner, the most abundant crop of poisons.” – David Hume

“I hate ingratitude more in a man than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness, or any taint of vice.” – William Shakespeare

“Gratitude doesn’t seem to come easily these days. We live at a time and in a culture that values grievance over gratefulness, presents over presence, and selfies over selflessness. Pessimism abounds about the state of the country and the condition of the culture. It’s tempting to feel unthankful, resentful, and downright embittered.” – Gary Bauer, president of American Values

“Unhappiness is a contagious disease caused by a chronic lack of gratitude.” – Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“All happy people are grateful. Ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that being unhappy leads people to complain, but it’s truer to say that complaining leads to people becoming unhappy.” – Dennis Prager

“God gave us minds to think with and hearts to thank with. Instead, we use our hearts to think about the world as we would like it to have been, and we use our minds to come up with rationalizations for our ingratitude. We are murmuring, discontented, unhappy, ungrateful people. And because we think we want salvation from our discontents.” – Douglas Wilson

“What is the path to wholeness? We will see this path more clearly if we recognize that greed’s ugly stepsister is ungratefulness. Greed always wants more. When we are greedy, we are never satisfied. Whatever we receive from others, we conclude we deserve. And in whatever quantity it may come, it is never enough. Lack of gratitude is a manifestation of an abundance of greed.” – Erwin Raphael McManus

“The more I understand the mind and the human experience, the more I begin to suspect there is no such thing as unhappiness; there is only ungratefulness.” – Steve Maraboli

What Is Wrong with Ingratitude?

All of the quotes above show famous instances of disdain for the ungrateful. They all point to the fact that ingratitude is harmful to our well-being and others. But what exactly is the problem with ingratitude? Why is it so harmful?

Those ungrateful people tend to take the helpful people in their lives for granted. They do not reflect on those who help them, such as their parents, friends, or coworkers. They are rarely thankful for the grace and service of others but to their downfall. It is not that people hate ungrateful people, but that when one’s efforts to help go unappreciated, it lessens other people’s motivation to help again.

ungrateful people

When people are helpful, it should come from the heart, where there is no big expectation to gain anything in return. Still, it is nice to know that one’s helpful actions are acknowledged and thanked. When an ungrateful person fails to recognize a helpful person, that helpful person is less likely to be so kind and generous in the future. The ungrateful person may eventually find himself without anyone to help him, having been turned away with his attitude of ungratefulness.

Ungratefulness leads to deep unhappiness. Where the mind goes, energy flows, so if we focus on ingratitude because we perceive a lack in our lives, that sense of lack will only grow. We will compare our lives to others and be miserable about how someone else has more than us, is happier than others, or has had greater opportunities than us.

When we shift the focus onto gratitude for all of the wonderful things we already have in our lives, that sense of abundance continues to grow. It sounds simple, but the difference between an attitude of gratitude and ingratitude can completely alter your level of happiness and well-being.

The Benefits of Gratitude

Being grateful for what we already have in our lives helps us live with a sense of having enough. When we are ungrateful for all the good things in life, even the challenging moments, we instill a sense of not having enough in our minds. That leaves us constantly searching for more and gets in the way of feeling fulfilled and satisfied.

Now, just because gratitude is important does not mean that your negative experiences are invalid or that they do not deserve any attention. Cultivating and practicing gratitude is not about denying the negatives in life but shifting our attention to the positive to enjoy a greater quality of life overall.

Several studies have been carried out on the power and benefits of gratitude and consistently report that practicing and showing gratitude has several mental, emotional, and physical health benefits.

1. Gratitude Makes You Happier

According to Gratitude in Practice and the Practice of Gratitude, a study published in Positive Psychology in Practice, cultivating and expressing gratitude through journal writing leads to a greater sense of life, fulfillment, and happiness. The researchers observed participants and reported a 10% increase in long-term satisfaction compared to the control group. According to the study, ‘those who pay attention to what is good in their life instead of what is bad are more likely to feel positive about their life.’

2. Gratitude Boosts Your Self-Esteem

In a study entitled Gratitude and Well-Being: Who Benefits the Most from a Gratitude Intervention?, researchers observed participants over a 4-week course as they worked with feelings of gratitude and ‘gratitude contemplation.’ They found that participants who worked with gratitude contemplation reported significantly higher overall life satisfaction, self-esteem, and well-being than the control group. The researchers concluded that grateful contemplation could be used to enhance long-term well-being.

3. Gratitude Improves All of Your Relationships

With a greater sense of happiness and a boost in self-esteem, your relationships will improve. Yet further studies have honed in on the relationship benefits of gratitude and have found a strong direct correlation between higher levels of gratitude and greater interpersonal relationship satisfaction.

One study found that when friends express gratitude to and for each other, they are more likely to commit to that friendship. They become more effective and compassionate problem-solvers, allowing them to work through issues, concerns, and disagreements in a healthy, mature, and mutually beneficial way. The same study reported similar effects of gratitude on romantic relationships. According to the researchers, ‘expressing gratitude to a partner leads to more relationship maintenance behavior.’


Do you consider yourself a grateful person? If not, why not? What is it that you lack? If you have read this article and decided you no longer want to be ungrateful, the good news is that gratitude can be cultivated with just a little practice.

It is a simple approach, so simple it is easy to dismiss. Still, given the profound benefits of gratitude, it is worth trying. When you start your day or are on your way to work, think about three things, big or small, that you feel lucky to have. Maybe it is the roof over your head, a caring partner, or a job that you enjoy. Perhaps it is your favorite podcast that teaches you new things, a recent phone call with your best friend, or that first cup of coffee when you wake up.

Whatever it is will be unique to you, and even if others do not appreciate it, all that matters is that you do. Feel grateful with a smile or a deep breath for these three things once each day. If you want to take it a step further, write them down in a gratitude journal. Gratitude journaling has been proven to boost contentment and well-being in several studies. So, get out a pen and paper, and start with three little things you feel grateful for today.

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