Gisele Bundchen's new book is a chance to take a few life lessons from one of the world's most prominent supermodels. The 38-year-old, who was born in the southwestern Brazilian city of Horizontina, opens up about motherhood, marriage to American NFL star Tom Brady and several personal struggles throughout the pages of "Lessons: My Path to A Meaningful Life".
Be the Best You Can Be
One of Gisele’s most famous quotes is “I’m not afraid of working hard at anything, whatever it is. I just always want to be the best that I can be.” She has really taken this to heart. Gisele Bündchen is a businesswoman, a mother, a wife, and a supermodel who boasts $360 million net worth and an estimated $47 million earned in 2015.
When you feel that you aren’t living up to your full expectations, don’t get lazy or complacent. You can achieve so much more than you think you can, as long as you put your mind to it. Wealth and beauty aren’t given for those who do not work hard. While you might not achieve 89th place in Forbes list of the Most Powerful Women in the World, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to be the best you can be. You can handle all the roles you have been given, if you work at it.
Love Your Body
She may be one of the most successful supermodels in the world, but growing up Gisele Bundchen was teased for her appearance. Bundchen was “a foot taller” than everyone else in her grade when she was 12 or 13, including the boys, and rarely got asked to slow dance at parties. She got called a variety of hurtful nicknames, including “Olly,” in reference to Olive Oyl, the wisp-thin character from “Popeye.”
“I remember once walking into my classroom and seeing a poster that featured a drawing of a skeleton and underneath it someone had written, ‘Has anybody seen Olly?’” Bundchen wrote in her memoir. “I felt humiliated.”
This insecurity effected her later on in life, too. Bundchen, who had later been nicknamed "The Body" during her modeling career, acknowledges her shape has changed after giving birth and breastfeeding her children - Benjamin, 8 and Vivian, 5, - for about two years each, rendering her breasts "much smaller" and "slightly lopsided".
When she returned to work, people would comment on her modified chest. "Suddenly, I was very self-conscious about the way they looked," she writes.
That insecurity moved Bundchen to make "one of the most upsetting decisions of my life". She opted for a boob job with the expectation that "no-one will make those comments anymore, and I will feel like myself again".
You are going to face times in your life where you aren’t happy in your body, and that’s perfectly normal. However it’s how you choose to handle it that matters. If you give in to what others say, and try to be someone you are not, you only will continue to live an unhappy life. Rather, you should work on building your self-confidence up naturally and in a healthy way.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Bundchen wrote that, in her 20s, she was leading an unhealthy life that she compared to living on a hamster wheel. She was working 350 days a year, smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, drinking coffee to stay awake, and drinking wine to help herself sleep. She began to suffer from panic attacks in 2003, after a bumpy flight to Costa Rica. Soon, the panic attacks and anxiety affected her in tunnels, in elevators, and in her own home. One evening, she found herself on the deck of her ninth-floor apartment, panicked and trying to catch her breath.
“Everything had become a cage, and I was the animal trapped inside, panting for air,” Bundchen wrote. “I couldn’t see a way out, and I couldn’t stand another day of feeling this way. The idea swept over me then: Maybe it will be easier if I just jump. It will be all over. There’s a solution. I can get out of this.”
A doctor later prescribed her anti-anxiety pills, but Bundchen preferred natural solutions. She researched other options, and began a yoga regimen, learned breathing exercises, and took up meditation. She also changed her diet, focusing on more plant-based food options.
One thing that many adults, both young and old, so is treat their body and minds poorly. "It's easy to say in hindsight, but if you don't take care of your body when you're young, I guarantee that you'll pay the price someday. If not in your early twenties, as I did, then in your forties or fifties," Bundchen wrote.
This is one life lesson from Bundchen we all should be taking seriously. If we struggle with depression and anxiety, it’s important to ask for real help when needed. What steps are you taking to be a more mentally strong person?
Find Someone That Compliments You
Bundchen writes that Brady, whom she met on a blind date, "Is someone you can count on. It's a quality I hadn't experienced in any of my other romantic relationships. I love my husband - and most of all, I trust him".
She says they also "complement each other", continuing, "My husband is rational, analytical, and a man of few words. I'm emotional, intuitive, changeable, and a woman of many words. I've learned a lot from Tom."
You have probably been in relationships where you and the other person clashed. No matter how hard you worked on the relationship, you two simply couldn’t get it to work. That’s normal and nothing to be ashamed of. You should be looking for someone that compliments you, and brings out the best in you. Don’t ever stop looking for your prince charming.
Gisele Bundchen is more than just a beautiful Brazilian model with endless legs. A lot of people look at her and wish they could be just like her, or judge her based on her profession, but there is actually so much more to Gisele. These important life lessons are ones we all can take and learn from, so that we too can be the best version of ourselves.