Empathy, kindness, insight, and compassion are powerful antidotes to disrespect. Aware of this, I have found the practice of "exchanging self with other" to be of great support in deepening respect, and of nurturing wisdom and strengthening resilience when subjected to disrespect.

This practice was outlined by Shantideva, the eighth-century Indian Buddhist monk, who wrote A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life.

We begin by first recalling our aspiration to be of benefit to others, and that every single being wants to be free of suffering.

Then we honestly consider how our own selfishness and self-cherishing have not brought us real happiness. What has nourished our well-being has been respecting, loving, and caring for others.

Looking deeply, we should also see that everything that benefits us comes from others, whether our bodies, the food we eat, the clothing we wear, the house we live in, even the air we breathe.

Then it is important to understand that from one point of view, there is no difference between self and other and that all beings and things are totally interdependent and worthy of respect and care.

Although for most of us it is usually ourselves that we are focusing on, now we focus our attention and love on another.

For this part of the practice of exchanging our self-cherishing to cherishing others, bring to mind the presence of someone who is suffering. Imagine that you are this person, living their life, enduring their difficulties.

Imagine their suffering as dark smoke and breathe it in. On the out-breath, send all of your good qualities to this one.

After some time has passed doing this practice, return to your own vast heart and let yourself rest in unconditioned presence.

End the practice by dedicating the merit to the well-being of others.

This practice is a powerful way for us to cultivate love and respect for others.

Joan Halifax in Standing at the Edge