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7 Lessons Audrey Hepburn Taught Me About True Beauty

7 Lessons Audrey Hepburn Taught Me About True Beauty

Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and forms, and one of the most iconic and recognizable is that of actress, campaigner, humanitarian and Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn is considered to this day a truly beautiful woman, even with the passage of time and the increasing strain and imposing attitudes towards beauty and self-image in the modern world.

But what is true beauty? How is it even attained? Audrey Hepburn found the secret of achieving true beauty, beauty that eminates from both inside and out, and here are seven of her most important quotes and lessons that can help you achieve true beauty as well.

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1. “And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows!”

Lessons learned: One of Audrey Hepburn’s best lessons in true beauty and how to attain it, lies in the high-pressure paradox of aging and being beautiful. In our society, beauty is regarded as a commodity, and youth in particular in treasured. The older a woman becomes, the less attractive she is perceived to be by society at large, and so every kind of anti-ageing cream, surgery, or procedure is peddled out. Audrey Hepburn’s lesson teaches us that women grow more beautiful with age, as a result of their kindnesses and increasing confidence. Think of natural beauties such as Sophia Loren, Julie Christie, and of course Ms Hepburn, who aged gracefully. Time to put down the face cream advertisement and consider maybe, just maybe, growing old gracefully.

2. “There is more to sex appeal than just measurements. I don’t need a bedroom to prove my womanliness. I can convey just as much sex appeal, picking apples off a tree or standing in the rain.”

Lessons learned: Audrey knew that the true definition of beauty is not sexiness; although sexiness in itself can be a strong facet of true beauty. What makes someone sexy and truly beautiful isn’t the kind of underwear they wear or how many calories they eat or how much time they spend on their bodies. True beauty and sexiness comes from confidence and from an innate sense of who you really are. Audrey Hepburn never had to parade around naked in a bikini to be sexy or beautiful. She was beautiful walking down the street, in her day-to-day life. So is everyone, if they truly believe in it.

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3. “Make-up can only make you look pretty on the outside but it doesn’t help if your ugly on the inside. Unless you eat the make-up.”

Lessons learned: This is one of Audrey Hepburn’s lesser known comments and quotes about true beauty, but one of the funniest and most succinct. Make up is used the world over and while this quote is certainly not attacking the people across the world who use it on a regular, daily basis; this quote suggests that all the make up in the world, which is designed to make things on the surface appear perfect, cannot sink beneath the skin and make the wearer a better and more perfect human being. Audrey Hepburn did not go without make up, but she did not mistake it or equate it with being beautiful on the inside, with being truly beautiful. Being truly beautiful is something no amount of make up can ever replicate or create.

4. “The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair… True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.”

Lessons learned: If ever a quote by Audrey Hepburn advocated the focus on inner beauty over outer, then this lesson from the legend herself surely speaks volumes. Inner beauty is not something that leaks in from the outside; it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing haute couture or have a perfect hairdo. True beauty, inner beauty, radiates from the inside out with the positive traits and qualities a person brings to the world and shares with the world. Audrey Hepburn’s true beauty came from her compassion, her kindness, and her devotion to others, and while she might have been wearing Chanel and Dior, it was those qualities that made her truly beautiful.

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5. “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”

Lessons learned: True beauty is not isolation. Beauty is not about being all about the surface. You can have a picture perfect veneer – a toned body, great hair, perfect teeth,.. Audrey Hepburn understood this better than anyone; She spent her entire life desiring human connection and a family and desired a family more than being an actress or a celebrity. She understood that true beauty comes from the connections we have to others. Truly beautiful people cultivate loving and powerful relationships with one another. She also stood that maintaining those connections is the most important thing each of us can do on a daily basis.

6. “Let’s face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.”

Lessons learned: Sometimes a quote about a chocolate cake is just about a chocolate cake, but in this case, it’s really a comment about how inner and outer beauty is not about self-denial and restraint. Audrey Hepburn’s true beauty came from embracing her flaws and desires and letting them be a part of her life, rather than becoming an anxiety or a distraction. In short, Audrey let herself indulge in her taste for a ‘creamy chocolate cake’ and just let it be that. No binges, no starvation. Just a simple enjoyment of what made her happy, which in turn made her happy and truly beautiful.

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7. “I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.”

Lessons learned: Audrey’s most important and potent lesson in true beauty is, surprisingly, one of the most misunderstood quotes ever attributed to the Hollywood actress. Audrey’s quote is not an implication that in order to be happy, you need to be pretty and conventionally attractive. However, the quote is actually establishing that when someone is truly happy with themselves and at peace, it is then that they become beautiful, both inside and out.

Audrey Hepburn’s true beauty concept comes not from aesthetics but from the soul. If you want to be truly beautiful, you need to kind and courteous and cultivate happiness for yourself and do what makes you and others happy. That way, when you smile, you’ll look even more radiant, and you will be truly beautiful.

Featured photo credit: Audrey Hepburn via hdw.eweb4.com

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on July 15, 2020

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

“Entitlement is an expression of conditional love. Nobody is ever entitled to your love. You always have a right to protect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being by removing yourself from toxic people and circumstances.” -Dr. Janice Anderson & Kiersten Anderson

It’s not always obvious if you have someone toxic in your life. A toxic relationship is one that is harmful to you. A toxic person can create distress to the degree you feel inadequate and isolated. So, what makes a toxic person?

A toxic person has toxic behavior, meaning it’s not that the whole person is toxic[1]. It’s what they do that counts. Most toxic people run from accountability and misrepresent reality to you. They misrepresent your worth and your ability to heal from them can be stifled the longer you keep them in your life. You have a role to play with it as well; if your values are dismissed by them and you don’t act on it, you have allowed room for toxicity to grow.

When you are in a toxic relationship, you feel less than. You feel as though you are not worth anyone’s time or effort. You feel unheard, and sometimes you feel unsafe. You don’t feel good about yourself in a toxic relationship, whether it be with a partner, friend, or family member.

You may stay in a toxic relationship for a number of reasons. You may believe yourself to be a burden, have a lack of boundaries, resist change, fear conflict, try to be a people pleaser, find yourself codependent, or are partially stuck in a pattern or unhealthy cycle of abuse.

Letting go of toxic people may not be easy. In order to do so, you have to know why or how they are toxic to you and read between the lines that they do not have your best interests in mind.

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Letting go of toxic people is hard because you are good and want to see the good in others. You think their apologies are authentic. You have trouble believing they are being dishonest. You don’t spend time healing from it. You get pulled back into the pain because you don’t want it to end. However, if you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t right.

You should walk away from a toxic person because you need to preserve your peace. You need to feel like yourself again. And you need better support.

Letting go of toxic people can involve four major steps.

1. Recognize the Red Flags

Red flags are signs a person is being toxic. It’s when someone shows characteristics that you should feel caution about. It’s when you feel any level of dissatisfaction and distrust. Trust your gut. When you recognize red flags, you can evaluate whether a person is trying to manipulate you or not. This gives you some level of control over what you allow in your life. The earlier you detect these behaviors, the better off you will be.

Red flags can include:

  • They always put themselves first.
  • They point out imperfections and sabotage your self-esteem.
  • You may feel drained or used when you’re around them.
  • What you give isn’t reciprocated. They don’t return the goodness you provide as a friend.
  • They ignore your boundaries and get angry when you tell them “no.”
  • You catch them in half truths or outright lies when you confront them about anything.
  • You are the villain; they are the victim.
  • Second chances always lead to repeated patterns of behavior.
  • They may engage in abuse.

2. Set Boundaries

There are emotional boundaries that one can set, but there are also physical ones[2]. You can leave any time. Setting boundaries is also an important part of self-care.

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You shouldn’t walk on eggshells. Tell them how you feel. Are they respecting you, fulfilling your needs, and listening to you? If not, it’s time to set up a healthy emotional distance and start letting go of toxic people around you.

There are levels to this. You have your inner circle, which could include family, and then you have acquaintances and strangers. If a toxic person is in your inner circle, it’s time to pull back and put up some boundaries for them to follow. If they can’t hear you out, you can cut off the connection completely.

You can give second chances, but you have to be careful. If someone knows they can get away with something, they will do it again. If there’s any chance for the relationship, they have to know not to cross certain lines.

3. Invest in Yourself

You deserve to know you are worthwhile. Try to remember that things will get better and that anything is possible. How do you do so? Invest in yourself.

This means self care, goal setting, surrounding yourself with positive support, and feeling a sense of peace. Your greatest ambition should be to love yourself. Without self-love, letting go of toxic people will be difficult.

Every relationship is a risk, but if you know yourself and what you will allow, toxic people will have less of a hold over you. If you are a giver or people pleaser, you are most at risk to being in a one-sided relationship. You shouldn’t be punished for caring, but sometimes trust needs to be earned. If you have self-love, you are treating yourself the best way possible. You know that others need to meet your standards; otherwise, they don’t get to be a part of your life.

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It’s possible that you can love yourself and still not see the signs. It can be difficult for some to be aware that toxic people exist. However,, if you know how much you mean to others in your life and what you are worth, you will be less likely to take on a relationship that is harmful to you or repeat negative patterns. Self-love is how we get out of toxic relationships, but it’s also how they never begin.

4. Know When Forgiveness Is Possible

There are times a person will prove their worth to you. They may make a mistake that makes them seem like a horrible person. They may forget to be good to you because of their own issues. They may just have no example of what a healthy relationship looks like. They may have an inflated ego that really comes from insecurity. The list goes on.

If they apologize, that’s a start. Look at their actions. Are they changing for the better because they really want to change or just seeming to in order to manipulate you? A person may control others with their image or perceived personality, but if you see through them, you may be able to discern the degree to which they are willing to be there for you.

If they start to do the right thing, you may begin to trust them again. Don’t start forgiving them until time has passed and you are sure there is growth, even if they show vulnerability or remorse. You can give a second chance if they truly have an awakening. Otherwise, it’s best to get out. Don’t let them walk all over you; let them walk out the door.

If you do give a second change and they still refuse to change, you have every right to remove them and continue the process of letting go of toxic people. The moment you even want to leave may also be a good time to get out. You don’t have to compromise yourself in order to care for them.

Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger[3]. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. You have to go back to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from someone. You don’t have to let them back in. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

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Remember, forgiveness is ultimately for you, not them. You don’t need that person in your life in order to forgive them, and if you give them a second chance, proceed with caution.

Final Thoughts

Recognize the red flags, set boundaries, invest in yourself, and know when forgiveness is possible. This is how you cope with a toxic person impacting your life. You have power in the direction of your life and the people who accompany you as you move forward. Use it.

If a person is worthwhile, they will prove themselves through their actions, not their words. If they cross certain lines that really harm you, you owe them nothing. You have every right to feel what you feel and to be upset. Honor your feelings and communicate them because it’ll only continue to keep happening if you don’t.

If this is happening to you, it’s time to put a stop to it. It’s time to take control. It’s time to live for yourself, not for what others say about you. It’s time to set your standards higher than they’ve ever been before. And most of all, it’s time to let go.

Resource reminder: A physically abusive relationship is ALWAYS toxic. There are resources for you. Always speak up.

If you are in such a cycle or domestic violence or abuse reach out for help. For example, there is The National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/) which can be reached at 1−800−799−7233. There are other ways to get help if you simply ask for it. 

More Tips on Letting Go of Toxic People

Featured photo credit: Hannah Busing via unsplash.com

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