Empaths have a wonderful gift: they have an enormous ability to empathize with and understand another person. They can sense their energy and read nonverbal clues. They often are highly intuitive, and sometimes have an uncanny capacity to tell what others might be going through.
But even such a precious gift can become a burden, when it's out of balance. It is crucial for empaths to find the right equilibrium between their own needs and those of their friends and loved ones. Most of the time, when an empath starts to understand his or her own discomfort, it means that their needs have been chronically neglected for a while, and it is important to dedicate time and energy to find out how they can feel better.
First, we must understand what triggers cause the empath to give up their own needs and dedicate too much energy elsewhere. What personalities tend to get to you? Is it the ones that seem aggressive and overbearing, or is it more about anxious and helpless people? What happens when you do more than simply support or listen to another person? Do you feel obligated to solve their problems for them? Do you energetically absorb their pain?
The first step is simply to ponder saying or signaling "No". If it's too hard to confront a person, it is ok to just evade them for a while until you feel strong enough to speak your truth. Outer boundaries can be regulated by spending less time around people that might be needy and intrusive.
The more important work happens inside.
It is important to strengthen your own sense of self. To pay more attention to what your needs and desires are, and how you might have gotten into the habit of putting them secondary. You can make a conscious choice to withdraw energy and a certain amount of support from the people that may have gotten used to you being there for them at all times.
Some of us feel selfish when we bring back the focus onto ourselves. But that is a misguided concept when it means that the energetic imbalance happens at our cost. Possible signs of that dynamic are chronic feelings of fatigue and depletion, depression, anxiety around certain people, and some forms of chronic pain like back or neck pain. We literally have learned to collapse our own self by pulling up the shoulders, or by carrying the burden on our backs for others.
Here is one way how to look at the issue by working energetically with the chakras.
Everything must be in balance. It is a paramount principle of health and harmony. Restoring balance is the first task of every empath. Once that is achieved, you are free to utilize your beautiful gift that way it suits you.