Pay Forward & Pay Backwards.


Pay Forward is a known concept, where the recipient of a favour passes a favour to others going forward. The aim is to give time, aid, ideas, and support to other people.

Paying forward provides you with a sense of contribution. This act becomes an essential part of building healthier relationships with others. It enhances your well-being. The gift has a ripple effect spreading through the community. This layer is both fun and has a depth of appreciation that is both tangible and intangible.

I know what you are thinking; you already feel that you give a lot to others. Your self-talk may go something like this, “I seem always to be giving.” “I know I am supposed to help others, but I am so tired.” Resentment builds. “No one thinks about me!” Or “No one cares about me.” You end up giving to others from obligation rather than a sense of willingness to help others. You are now in the Circle of Resentment.

Let us break the Circle of Resentment by looking at its close relative, Pay Backwards. Pay Backwards is the fair exchange for a service you have already given. Know that when you give to someone, in the future, you will receive time, aid, ideas or support from others in return. Let us run a scenario. You help someone move house, taking up approximately 5 hours of your day. Over the next month, two people help you. One gave you 3hrs of time and the other 2hrs. So in the future, you receive an exchange for the service provided, called Pay Backwards. The favour returned to you, and the Cycle of Resentment breaks.

The most remarkable thing about Pay Backward is the cycle that follows. You assist someone today, and in the future, others pay you back. This is called the Cycle of Appreciation. You stand to grow and gain so much more in your life by adopting this way of thinking and behaving.

When it comes to Pay Backwards, keep a record of what you have given to others and what others give to you. This process will assist you in working with the cycle’s energy. Resentment then falls away, and you have a sense of satisfaction when giving. Whilst knowing that fair exchange is already heading your way.

You do not have to keep a record of all you do; after all, that will be time consuming and annoying! Instead, you choose what you want to document. The record-keeping includes the date and the given service. Note whether it was time, labour, money or knowledge.

Currently, we keep a mental note of the things we do for others. But, during arguments, this type of recall tends to get exaggerated, or the exaggeration of remembrance leads to the Cycle of Resentment. So, let us circumvent the mental note and add depth to our giving.

In December, I spent 4hrs assisting my sister. She was painting the interior of her pre-school. Due to my novice painting skills, the sanding tool became mine to manage.

This is what it looked like in my Pay it Backwards journal:


Giving – Pay Forward

Date: December 2017

To Whom: Sister

Service Type: Preparing interior walls (sanding). Labour & 4hrs of time.


This is the giving component. Now let us document the future receiving.


Received – Pay Backward

Date: January 2018

From Whom: Son

Service Type: Moved my data to the new phone. Knowledge/Labour


You assign what you received against what you gave until it balances. You can then tick paid in full; how satisfying is that! The fun part comes about with the speed of return. It is rapid, but do not take my word for it. Instead, load up the template below and give it a go yourself.

Some say how wrong it is to give and expect something back. I say how cool it is to be a person who both gives and receives. Let us all do both.

I invite you to download the Excel Template, pop it on a device and give Pay Forward & Pay backwards a go. 

Jessica Ruane  is a passionate writer who shares lifestyle tips on Lifehack about How to Let go of Resentment and Anger – Click here to read more. 

 Download the Pay Forward & Pay Backward Template – Click Here

For direct answers to your specific personal questions, please contact Adrienne Gulliver directly.

Read more about Adrienne’s services.

Author – Adrienne Gulliver


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