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Previously the one we cherished most was “me.” We exchange that and now the one we cherish most is going to be the other. (Photo by Hartwig HKD)

a practice called Exchanging Self and Others; though exchanging self and others doesn’t mean I become you and you become me.  It doesn’t mean that my bank account becomes yours and your bank account becomes mine, and that your house becomes mine and that my house becomes yours. What it means is that previously the one we cherished the most was “me;” we’re exchanging that and now the one we cherish most is others. Previously we used to look at others and say, “Yes, we’re okay but they’re next best, first is me.” Now, when we exchange self and others we look at our own happiness and we say, “Oh, yeah that’s nice, but it’s second best, first is others.” We’re exchanging who it is that we focus on and care the most about. This doesn’t mean that we negate ourselves. It does not mean we become martyrs. If we negate ourselves and don’t take care of ourselves we become a big burden for other people. So, it simply means that we’re opening the scope of who we consider important and really cherishing others.

http://thubtenchodron.org/2003/09/putting-sentient-beings-first/