Have you ever wondered why Snow White takes that apple from the witch in Snow White? I think most of us have at one point in our lives or another. It’s a good question, a valid question. I wonder what you came up with, what you decided was her motivation. If I don’t get too over analytical about the whole situation, it’s actually pretty simple. That apple looks good! It’s nice and shiny, red and plump, apples taste good, I bet she could smell that wonderful autumn apple scent that can bring up so many different kinds of memories. I think the simple answer (which is usually the one right in front of us) is that she wanted it. She anticipated the promise of the flavor, the smell, the joy and satisfaction of eating and experiencing that big juicy apple! Well, most of us know what happened. She took a big ole bite and got exactly what she did not want. She lost control, she no longer had choices, she was at the mercy of something/someone who did not have her best interest at heart. And then we shout- “Why did you take that apple?”.
This is not just the story and fate of Snow White. So many of us fall for the witch’s promise of reward. We can be so focused on what we will get that feels good, comfortable, certain, that we don’t take a second and consider the longer term consequences. I like to use this as a metaphor for anxiety and how it tricks us into engaging with it time and time again. The promise of comfort is just too alluring to turn down. Why would anxiety offer me relief if it wanted to control me and harm me? Well, so it can continue to do this and convince me it knows the wise path. For individuals experiencing anxiety, the behaviors engaged in look like the promise of relief, but these behaviors only maintain and reinforce the need for certainty and comfort. That comfort comes at a very high price. Our confidence, our self esteem, our self worth, our self-respect. Our entire sense of self, really. This is how anxiety gains the upper hand.
How can we be certain the apple is poisoned? That if we don’t take it ,we wonder what could have been or what we may have missed out on. Well, it’s a trap. And in order to avoid the trap you have to learn how, because so many times, not taking the apple, or the safe route is scarier and harder than the known negative. Don’t allow the witch to decide your fate. You are worthy and capable of deciding your own. You may just need help learning how to do that because the witch has whispered untruths in your ear for so long. It’s time to become grounded in your own truth! You can get your own apple!
Bailey McDonald, LISW-CP