Disney’s latest movie release, “Luca,” has several great lessons throughout the storyline. There are morals of challenging yourself to do hard things and learning to make friends in spite of your differences, but there is a good lesson in Disney’s “Luca” you might have missed. The lesson of learning how to shut down negative self-talk.
This one phrase, “Silenzio Bruno!” is repeated throughout the movie, and is even a clip that was used in some of the trailers. The scene takes place between two new friends, Alberto and Luca. Luca has many hesitations in regards to trying new things, challenging himself, and stepping up to the plate when it’s time to be bold. Luca’s friend, Alberto, teaches him a phrase that he uses consistently to combat the negative inner dialogue.
In a laughable conversation between Alberto’s coaching and Luca’s getting the right tone of “Silenzio Bruno!”, Luca begins to embrace this phrase along with a positive mindset shift. This phrase makes it through the entire movie in several pivotal moments. It serves as a reminder to shut down the negative, unproductive voice in Luca’s head. Alberto even reminds him from time to time, “That’s Bruno” to alert Luca that he’s letting the harsh inner critic get to him.
The movie does a fantastic job of making this scene funny and easy to understand on the kid level. By coupling this lesson from the movie with intentional conversations, we can help our children know when the inner critic is talking, and how to shut it down.
Recognizing the Inner Critic
This first step in creating your own “Silenzio Bruno” is being able to recognize when the negative self-talk is happening. You talk to yourself more than anyone else, so are you listening? Take a day or so to jot down all the thoughts in your head. Be brutally honest with yourself. How many of those thoughts are toxic?
The first stages of learning to recognize how you talk to yourself will take effort, conscious forethought, and a great way to take notes. If you’re always on the go, make a note in your phone. If you prefer a journal and pen method, carry it around with you. Take a thought audit as often as you can. Remember, you’re constantly thinking, so what are you saying to yourself?
Begin recognizing the negative thought patterns that you have going on between your ears. You already know that these toxic thoughts will get you nowhere and will be counterproductive to your life and reaching your goals. Once you’re able to acknowledge your negative thoughts, you can begin to shut them down.
Shutting Down the Inner Critic
The next step in getting the harsh inner critic to leave you alone is to shut it up. You can do this in a number of ways, but it’s best if you pick something along the lines of your own personal flair. You can say “shut up,” “shut it down,” “lock it up,” or your own vocabulary you enjoy using. Getting creative with this step will make this whole process more enjoyable.
Experts suggest that naming the inner critic will actually help you be able to stop the negative thoughts more quickly (see “The Road Back to You” by Suzanne Stabile and Ian Cron). In the movie “Luca,” Alberto gives the harsh inner critic the name of Bruno. Oftentimes in the show you can see Alberto calling out (recognizing) the negative voice and then shutting it down using the phrase “Silenzio Bruno.”
As the movie progresses, there are times when this phrase is whispered and then shouted. You have the option to use your phrase in whatever tone or volume that’s needed as each situation arises. If you’re having a rough day, maybe you need to yell out your “Silenzio Bruno!”. There may be a time when all you need is a few deep breaths and a calm “Silenzio Bruno” you say quietly to yourself. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll be using the phrase you designed for yourself.
The Final Formula
Now to put it all together. You’re able to recognize your harsh inner critic. You call it by name. Then you shut it down. Friendly reminder that this toxic voice inside your head is counterproductive, mean, and even destructive. If you need further permission to shut down the negative way you talk to yourself, think of it this way. Would you let someone talk to your child as horribly as you talk to yourself? Absolutely not. Even if your kid was having these thoughts, you would want them to shut it down, so why not do the same for yourself?
- Recognize the negative thought
- Call out the thought by name
- Tell the voice to stop
Yes, it can really be these simple steps that will free up your mind, lighten your mood, and boost your will power. If you need additional help with this practice, find a trusted friend who can help you through it or even be the one to say “Silenzio Bruno!” when you need it. Sometimes you need an Alberto to call it out.
Getting to stop or even slow down a harsh inner critic takes a lot of deliberate practice and patience. If your goal is to have a better headspace, take the lesson from Disney’s Luca, and start learning to recognize and combat negative, toxic thoughts. You can do this, stick with it. It’s worth every bit of your hard work and effort.
Disney’s “Luca” is available now on Disney+. It’s such a fun summer movie with great lessons along the way. Grab your kids, some popcorn, and settle in for a movie night. Soon enough, your kids will be using the phrase “Silenzio Bruno,” and you’ll be able to begin building up your child’s confidence and mental toughness.