I'm tempted to say that the fear of fear is a big one in terms of mind habits to conquer. But it's not really a big one - it's huge! Every one of us has had first-hand experience with the debilitating effects of fear. Certainly the invisible mind habit of fearing fear itself will be confronted as you step into the inspired life changes you're after.
More than just a powerful emotion that comes and goes - fearing can become habitual. You may develop a habit of fearing certain things or certain situations - even while you're aware of no real danger. This is fear solidified as habit within.
Social anxiety, the fear of public speaking, the fear of change, the fear of failure, the fear of success, the fear of rejection - just a few examples of fear taking up habitual residence within. Fear taking shape as a habit within is actually surprisingly good news - since emotions are notoriously difficult to direct or control, yet habits can be changed or broken.
When it comes to fear habits we aren't the same. The habits I develop may be very different from yours. In this way, we each walk our own unique evolutionary pathways in life. We each confront and reshape our own fears.
One of the gifts of choosing to walk a conscious path in life is getting to know yourself on a deeper level than most. You come face-to-face with your fear habits and are challenged to move through them - changing those habits as you go.
Yoda's wisdom points us in the right direction, "Named must your fear be, before banish it you can." Facing fear is to first acknowledge it - there it is, a fear habit within. Certainly nothing to be afraid of, but fearlessly addressed. The only thing stopping this fearless acknowledgement is the fear of fear itself.
Which is really just compiling fear upon fear - unnecessary.
The raw emotion of fear comes as naturally to you as breathing; and for good reason. Fear is there to protect you and warn you from impending danger. The fear of heights or the fear of anything that poses real physical danger is instinctual and natural. Natural fear is there to help you survive and thrive.
It's habitual fear - fear that has been conditioned into you later in life - that can present as an obstacle. Through personal experience and upbringing you learn to fear certain situations - even if they no longer pose any real threat, as discussed above.
The fear of fear itself is one of those learned habits. We learn to become afraid of what fear will do to us; instead of remembering that fear is there for us. We do very well indeed to unlearn this habit of fearing, none other, than fear itself.
Raw, non-habituated fear is friendly - warning you of real dangers and motivating preventative measures. Yet, what survival value does the fear of fear have to offer? None. Fearing fear only seems to make matters worse in effectively dealing with situations, doesn't it? It gets in your way.
As a multiplier of fear - the fear of fear can be debilitating. Any natural or conditioned fears that may arise within you, immediately get amplified by fearing your bodily reactions. Accepting fear is the antidote. Befriending fear is the solution. Befriending your mind is wisdom.
That's a true benefit of the fear of fear. It can be a road to wisdom if you let it.
As with any other fear, working to master the fear of fear is a matter of self-knowledge and intensely personal work. It is your own unique evolutionary pathway to walk.
The first step is to acknowledge the fear. You become intensely curious - watching, investigating, seeing how fear operates in your body and in your life. You familiarize yourself with fear and make a study of it - with your very own body and mind as laboratory.
By familiarizing yourself with fear, you familiarize yourself with the operations of your own body and mind as well. You no longer need to fear something you know and understand. It's the unknown and non-familiar that's potentially scary.
In pursuing this self-study, you aren't trying to eliminate fear per se - that would be the fear of fear doing the talking! Your aim is to become an expert on your body and mind at work. It's the famous war strategist, Sun Tzu, who said that by knowing yourself and knowing your enemy you'll be undefeated.
That's all well for warring armies, yet standing firm on the battlefields within requires taking things one step further. You get to know yourself - your very own body and mind. You get to know your enemy - fear. The next internal step is to befriend your enemy. After all, why make an enemy of your very own mind?
As a friend you gain influence. As enemies there's only fear and control. Aim to befriend your mind and you'll find not only the fear of fear vanishing, but you'll be empowered to cope and deal with the habitual fears already yours.
You know you're being mastered by the mind habit of fearing fear when...
You know you're starting to master the mind habit of fearing fear when...
Fearing fear is a uniquely human capacity. It seems to come part and parcel with inheriting a human mind. When an animal feels fear, it acts on it - it doesn't evaluate it. As human beings we have the means to evaluate fear.
As with most things in life, this can be good or not-so-good.
On the plus side your ability to evaluate fear helps you be proactive in life. You can decide what to do with your fears. On the downside this awareness makes the fear of fear possible. Yet, even this can be turned to your favor.
Rather than setting out to master fear - which is a wild, unruly emotion; you can set out to master your relationship with fear instead. That's where increasing self-mastery lies.