Tags: Encanto, we don't talk about bruno, bell let's talk day, bell let's talk, counseling, mental health, mental health awareness, problem solving, coping skills, communication, mindset, self improvement
“Running from your problems is just adding another one to the list.” Tim Farge
Disney Studios, Encanto, 2022
If you are on social media at all these days, you cannot help but notice there is a certain movie taking the world by storm. Encanto, the latest movie by Disney Studios is a story about the exceptional Madrigal family, who live in the secluded mountains of Columbia, in an enchanted dwelling called the Casa Madrigal. The magic and fascination revolves around the Casa Madrigal and the fact that certain family members have been blessed for several generations, with extraordinary and unique gifts.
These gifts include super strength, controlling the weather, healing with food, supersonic hearing, the ability to communicate with animals and being able to predict the future. Although there are many advantages to these incredible gifts, as the story unfolds, the audience comes to realize there is much going on “under the surface” that the characters are not admitting. They are trying to create a façade that all is well, but this charade cannot be maintained. The characters just need to be vulnerable and honest about their true thoughts, and feelings to become the people they were destined to be.
Then there is Bruno. Poor Bruno. He is the outcast, the black sheep, the one that no one is allowed to talk about, which results in the song “We Don’t Talk about Bruno.” On a side note We Don't Talk About Bruno is No 2 on The Hot 100 Chart and is currently the highest charting song from Disney animated movies since 1993 according to recent research data. So why is this? Other than that it is a catchy tune, my thoughts are that it is totally relatable.
You see, Bruno's gift is he can see the future and he was honest about it. This does not go over well with this unique family who likes to keep up appearances, and he gets banished from the family for his revelations. So where am I going with this little movie review you might ask? It illustrates well the damage that can happen when important matters are not discussed. We need to talk about “Bruno” and other important issues that are troubling us, to stay healthy in all aspects.
In honour of Bell Let’s Talk Day, I would like to speak to the importance of getting real and sharing out loud what our issues are. In my years employed as a clinical social worker, the duties I found most fulfilling were when I met with clients individually or in group counseling sessions. It was so incredible to watch people open up and share their concerns in a safe setting. It was so liberating for many and often the only place where they could feel they could be completely honest.
I recall a beautiful, young woman who had been coming for counseling for several weeks came in one day and became strangely quiet and uncomfortable. This was so unlike her and when I inquired about what was happening, she was close to tears. She stated, “Today I have decided to tell you my deepest struggle, and I know when I do our relationship will be over and I am very sad about that. I know as soon as I share, you will literally say… there’s the door.” I assured her I had no intention of doing that. She began to share and pour out her heart as I listened intently. She was watching me closely to see how I would react. When she had finished, I thanked her for opening up to me and sharing such personal things. I was honoured that she trusted me that much. I was not shocked by her story, but filled with compassion for her, and all she had been through. As she realized that our relationship was still intact and I was not going to abandon her, her countenance immediately changed. She felt so freed and realized that what she had been carrying for so long, needed to be shared with the right person to move forward. I am so glad I was her person that day and she made great progress throughout the sessions.
I used to use the analogy of the person with a heavy backpack in my group sessions. In fact I would act it out and it always got some good laughs even though it was so sadly relatable for all of us. The little skit went like this … I would come in wearing a heavy backpack that represented my "problems," but I was going to try anything except talking about them to problem solve. I reenacted this skit for my students today but used a big box labelled "problems" instead of a backpack this time. Here's how it unfolds.
I come in with a huge box labelled PROBLEMS. The problems are visible and obvious to everyone else, except me. I figure if I deny they exist, they will somehow magically disappear. What I don't see is that the letters in DENIAL stand for Don't Even Notice I am Lying. This strategy is clearly doomed to fail, but I will keep trying it.
I have problems but they are not that serious. This is something that is best to keep to myself. Don’t bother anyone. I can handle it. I don't want to annoy my friends or appear too needy. This is something I can just live with it. It's not that bad. (at least that is what I keep telling myself)
I may have problems but I am certainly not as bad as this or that person. Now THAT is someone who clearly needs help, not me. I have my problems under control. I am way better off than that guy! ( at least I hope I am)
Just throw a cover on it and cover those problems up. If people ask if they can help as they see I have a lot of problems, I just act like I have no idea what they are talking about, look them right in the eye and say you are mistaken, I am just fine. (but I'm not)
Acceptance and Get Talking
Finally in the end, I acknowledge my problems, accept the fact I need help and talk about it. Only then will this heavy burden become bearable, as I unpack it little by little, and someone else helps me share the heavy lifting.
I love the Bell Let’s Talk campaign because it gives permission for people to talk about things they feel they shouldn’t talk about. If you are lonely, sad, depressed, suicidal, fearful, feeling guilty, shameful, confused, a victim of abuse or just need a friend, PLEASE find a trusted friend, family member, mentor, pastor or counselor and just start talking. Let your heart guide you and the healing will come.
Don't deny, minimize, compare, or camouflage your problems but accept them and get talking. We cannot change what we don’t acknowledge, so let’s open the lines of communication and get the conversation flowing.
Please feel free to reach out to me by email (firstname.lastname@example.org ) or on one of my other social media platforms if you need a listening ear or want to start a conversation.
Until next time,
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Dana Romualdi is a Canadian elementary teacher, social worker, blogger, author, motivational speaker and recording artist. She has a passion for helping others and spreading much needed encouragement. She lives in Canada with her husband and two grown children. When she is not working or blogging, she enjoys drinking coffee, watching Netflix and reading great books.