Most people will tell you that option two is the way to go. That you must not acknowledge the fear or anxiety and that by ignoring it you are refusing to give it power over you. But there is a third, and I believe, more productive way.
We all have fears and anxieties and they usually operate behind the scenes, guiding us and telling us what we should or should not do or what we’re capable of. When something comes up that triggers the fear/anxiety, it comes to the surface and you feel it. It makes its presence known. If you push it away, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you get rid of it. You may be able to overcome it temporarily in a particular situation, but ignoring it, denying it or pushing it away doesn’t eliminate it completely.
What I have found to be the most effective way is to acknowledge it – this doesn’t mean you’re giving in to it at all. What it means that you are acknowledging that it is there, you allow yourself to feel it and notice where you feel it the most in your body. You put your attention on the feeling – which is like shining a bright light onto it. And then you ask yourself what it’s trying to tell you. You ask yourself what the fear is really about.
When you do this, you will usually receive some insight – sometimes right away, but sometimes a little later on – and the message you receive often has nothing to do with the situation you are currently dealing with. Instead it may be related to something that happened long ago, or some deep-seated belief that you have.
Once you get this, then you are free to let it go. It will usually dissolve until eventually you wonder what it was you were anxious about in the first place. THIS is what allows you to move beyond your fears in the most productive and healthy way possible.
Try this affirmation:
“I am willing to learn from my fears and anxieties. By allowing myself to feel them and learn from them I set myself free.”