Pay it Forward: Bless Back

Let’s kick off the day with a different way of thinking.  Instead of looking for ways to — pay it forward — how about backwards?  bless back

Last week, I had the privilege of meeting Julie Saffrin, author of the newly released book, BlessBack®: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life.  The title captured my interest {dah…it’s totally Keeping it Personal!} I wanted to learn more about the book, the motivation behind it, and get my hands on a copy.  So we talked.  I asked lots of questions, she shared.  The concept is simple:

Give a BlessBack. Change your life. Change the world.


Question:  What is a BlessBack?
A BlessBack is about expressing gratitude in a pay-it-backward fashion by looking back into our positive past to find people who made an impact on us and specifically thanking them. Expressing appreciation backward to our life influencers is key to our feeling happier. These people are our illuminators. Somehow, we mattered to them and they mattered to us. A mystery of connectedness is at play here. When we intentionally think about people’s past kindnesses, it helps us flourish now. The action of thanking intentionality trains our brains to live on a plane of gratitude. This is especially true when we thank and honor our life influencers. The act fuses the giving soul and the receiving soul together and motivates us to live in a perpetual state of gratitude each day.

Question:  Where did you get the idea to write BlessBack®: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life?
I was going through a dark time and decided to read a box of saved letters and thank-you notes just to see if doing so could alter my funk.

As I re-read the letters, this surge of euphoria and energy came over me. I felt a renewing of me. My life inflated with joy and I felt the incredible reciprocal power of both expressing thanks and being thanked. These saved letters showed that whatever the size or significance of our lives, we all have a reason for our existence. Best of all, this empowered feeling that comes through the giving and receiving of BlessBacks is available to everyone.

Question:  How does one live The BlessBack Life?
To live “The BlessBack Life” is to live in both an experiential and action-driven state of thankfulness. To live “The BlessBack Life” is one where we, on a regular basis, intentionally and thoughtfully place goodwill into the lives of the positive people in our past who made some kind of impression upon us.

These life-influencing people I call our illuminators because somehow, somewhere in the course of our journeying, they showed us the way to go, or affected us to such a degree that when we bring that person to mind, we still see them championing us on and we are given the courage to make our dreams become real now. Our illuminators make us realize our presence in the world matters.

Question:  What is the one thing you hope readers will take away from BlessBack?
That to live The BlessBack Life is to live an empowered life, rich in meaning and purpose. We can live well-intentioned, purposeful lives if we put into action the ideas presented in BlessBack. My hope is that people will come away from reading this book, knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are significant and matter, both in their circles of influence and to the world.


Admittingly, as I write this, I have not finished the book — BUT I pick it up every chance I get.  As I think about the many ways my life has been enriched by others, my list of those I want to thank is getting long.  This book is blessing me — I’m going to pay it backwards and bless back!

GIVEAWAY:  Would you like to win a signed copy of Julie’s book?  IF SO, simply leave a comment answering this question –>  Who has been an “illuminator” in your life?  Who would you like to intentionally thank …bless back?

Share your comment by clicking here.

{leave your comment before Midnight Sunday, August 5th — the winner will be announced here on the blog Monday August 6th, 2012}


Meet the Author –> JULIE SAFFRIN is the author of numerous articles and essays. She received her bachelor’s degree in print journalism and English from the University of St. Thomas. She divides her time between her home in Minneapolis and her Adirondack chair at her cabin on a lake in Ottertail County with her husband Rick, sons Sam, Joe and Jake, and a golden retriever named Mick. She can be reached at, on BlessBack’s Facebook Fan page at, or through Twitter @blessback.


  1. Diane Livermore says

    Mine would be my husband Don. I met him when I was in 6th grade. We lived in seperate towns. Back then, as I grew up admiring him…. He kept me on the right track, through 41 years of marriage now! Bless him!

    • Teri says

      How beautiful it that Diane…41 years! Congratulations! I’m sure I could learn a lot from you about marriage, grace, forgiveness, and partnership if were to sit down and talk over a cup of coffee. Thank YOU for sharing your “blessback” =)

  2. says

    Thanks so much for your promotion of BlessBack. Looking forward to the conference and to hearing you speak as well as connecting with women there.
    Julie Saffrin

  3. Heather says

    The list of people that have influenced the woman I am today is long. I feel I was truly raised by the “village”. The beauty of growing up in the 70’s and 80’s in a small town allowed for that. I love this idea and it set my brain to think of all those wonderful people from my past. Ironically, my ex husband was a huge influence in a positive way … he raised my self confidence in our relationship. After our divorce I found new strength in myself and in time my new husband with whom I share 2 wonderful boys. I would definitely pay it back to my ex husband.

    • Teri says

      Heather — thank you for sharing! I too have an ex that I would like to bless back. Even through the “ickyness” I see the positive and I would not be who I am today without that influence. SO grateful for new beginnings, but looking back? This is opening my eyes to so much goodness! =)

  4. diki says

    Thank you Teri for shairing and for the opportunity to win a copy of your book! To start with mine would be my Dad. He does so much to help me me out not only finanally (i am disabled and low income) but his steadfast consistent godly life has been such a blessing in mine. He has so many life threatening health issues and the Lord just blesses him with the ability to bless others. I think so much of being able to bless back coincides with having a grateful spirit. There are many, many in my life past and present i would like to bless back but my dad is #1. I am always trying to find little things i know will make him happy.

    • Teri says

      Thank YOU Diki for sharing…your father seems like an amazing man!! I agree having a grateful spirit, one that actively looks for the Good is priceless. Keep shining you light! =)

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