Supermodel Gisele Bündchen’s new book, “Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life,” explores the highs and lows of her journey to becoming a supermodel, wife and mother. In this note to her younger self, she reflects on life, love, family and a career that hasn’t been as glamorous as it may appear.
You are 13 on a bus from your small town, to visit the big city of São Paulo for the first time; little do you know that your life will change forever. To your surprise, a model scout approaches you because of your unique look. It turns out the bullies at school who teased you for being different are wrong. You won’t forget being called names like “Olive Oyl” by your classmates, but you will forgive them.
When you turn 16, you move to New York City (without speaking English), it won´t be easy. In the beginning, jobs are scarce and you have to learn how to manage your money, so you can have enough to eat, but you will remain steadfast and grateful. Don’t worry, in time, your hard work, discipline, and focus will pay off.
Growing up as the middle child of six sisters, you learned quickly how to share, how to honor each other’s differences and how to work as a team and this will help you through your journey. You will achieve great success, and with it, more pressure, jealousy, and judgment will come, leaving you feeling sad and alone. Then a tiny dog will enter your life, she will make you feel loved and give you strength. You will name her Vida, “life,” and that is what she will be, your best friend and constant companion through all the ups and downs.
The high demands from your work schedule, constantly traveling, coupled with your desire to please everyone contributes to you starting to have panic attacks. You will learn that by saying “yes” to everyone all the time you were actually saying “no” to you and that people’s opinions of you often have nothing to do with you, but mostly to do with how they feel about themselves and their own insecurities. Drop the guilt! Relax! It is not your responsibility to please everyone and fix everything.
Slow down, breathe, trust your intuition and remember it’s about giving and receiving. Since you were little, you knew there was a higher power. With time, you will learn how to listen to the voice within. You will also experience a deep connection to nature and protecting her will become a huge part of your life. Your curiosity will make you want to go deeper and learn more about yourself. Through meditation, you will find a quiet place you can go to that is within you. The more time you spend there, the stronger your awareness will be.
You will fall in love, get married, and fulfill your dream of being a mother. Your kids will expand your heart in ways you never thought possible and everyday you will learn and grow with them. You will make mistakes, this is all part of growing and learning, so don’t be so hard on yourself. You don’t have to be perfect; you are exactly how you are meant to be, you are enough.
An invitation will come for you to be a part of Rio’s Olympics opening ceremony. With the world watching, you will walk alone in a dark stadium. Your fears will fade away as your heart will burst open with love that you will share with everyone. So, remember, no matter what comes your way keep living your life with love, loving yourself, loving others and loving the world you live in. Keep dancing to the beat of your own drum. Keep following your heart and don’t apologize for being you.