Zachary Levi is one of the top superheroes who is not only self-assured of what he does but also nailed it in the upcoming film “Shazam”.
If you ask the actor, however, what makes him feel like a hero in real life, he’ll probably mention a combination of intense therapy, his ongoing pursuit of self-care, and radical acceptance — three things he claims have helped him put his past experiences, even the painful ones, into healing perspective.
Radical Love, Learning To Accept Yourself And Others
Levi, 41, opens up about his Hollywood lifestyle in his new book “Radical Love: Learning to Accept Yourself and Others” (Harper Horizon, 224 pp., out Tuesday).
The actor candidly discusses his battles with depression and anxiety, the trauma he endured at the hands of his abusive mother, and the three weeks he spent in a mental health facility after experiencing what he jokingly dubs a “whole big fun breakdown” weeks before being cast in “Shazam!”
“I felt really driven that I needed to talk about that part of the tale,” says Levi, who is building a movie studio in Tulsa, Oklahoma, over Zoom from his kitchen.
“I wouldn’t have even gotten the job had I gone and done this very essential work.” You must recover, and that requires a lifetime.
Levi intersperses sidebars of mental health advice and activities throughout his book to assist readers on their path. He claims that the goal is to enable people to actively pursue healing rather than to persuade them to reflect on their own experiences.
He explains, “You’ve got to get the story out there, and then you’ve got to be like, OK, what do we do with that?” If you truly want to change your life, you must deal with all of your past trauma, come to terms with who you are outside of it, and seek the necessary healing.
The cruelty and neglect he endured from his parents, especially his mother, was one of the most painful battles he describes in his book.
Despite not receiving the complete mental health care she required before her passing in 2015, Levi’s therapists believe his mother most likely had borderline personality disorder with narcissistic characteristics.
Levi says he didn’t set out to portray his mother as a monster, but he doesn’t sugarcoat the hurtful things she did to him and said to him throughout his childhood.
Levi recounts a particularly distressing conversation in which his mother said, “I’d be happy today if you were dead.”He claims that “my mother was a product of the environment she was in.”
Knowing full well that the only reason she acts in the manner in which she does is that she was first mistreated by her own mother, how could I possibly think that she is some dreadful, bad, wicked person?
Levi describes one of his intentions for his book as inspiring readers to practice “radical love,” which he defines as the conviction “that every single person in this world is doing their absolute best with the resources that they have at their disposal.”