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Hello, everyone. I haven't been around in a while, it seems. Life has been very busy for me and I have a plan of what I wish to do with my life and living. However, I find myself in a bit of a conundrum regarding how I know myself.
I have always wanted to help people. I consider myself to be rather personable, friendly, insightful, and am someone people go to in order to feel better or calm down. Therefore, after much deliberation (and 4 years of college -- I'm graduating so soon!), I have decided to pursue a Master's degree in social work in order to give opportunities and resources to people who are in situations or circumstances where thy might otherwise not have them -- prisons, shelters, rehabilitation facilities, etc. Ideally, I would like to incorporate culinary arts into my methods in order to promote the therapeutic qualities of cooking and proper nutrition in the recovery process, and provide opportunities for individuals (such as prisoners) who may not have them.
However, I also know myself, and I carry deep amounts of empathy. Whil empathy is a good thing, of course, I find myself unable to control how it permeates. I find myself caring deeply about others to the point where it it exhausts me, and I know I can't stand it to see others in struggles that I know they can overcome.
To help myself, I want to discuss this with perhaps a personal Buddhist teacher (master?) to help navigate through that. Maybe go to regular sessions to discuss and meditate and pray. But I also would like to ask advice from you all, since you have all given me such great advice and wonderful opportunities to share your stories.
What would you suggest I do? I know loving kindness and having yourself loving others is very important, but how can I lessen the toll it takes on me? Is there a way to change this thinking?