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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 September 16, 2020

3 Simple Signs of a Strong and Healthy Relationship

3 Simple Signs of a Strong and Healthy Relationship

In helping many people solve their relationship woes, I am often asked for the signs of a good relationship.

Well, what’s fascinating about relationships is the dynamics of two individuals coming together and staying together amid an array of perceptions and misperceptions.

Our relationships are not only influenced by our current actions but also by our past relationships and the life experiences that we bring forward into the current relationship. How we deal with misperceptions and misunderstandings determines the strength and health of our relationship and the level of happiness we are able to experience.

Much of the subconscious programming that takes place throughout our life causes us to sabotage our happiness by preventing us from engaging effectively, especially when we become emotionally triggered.

These mostly unconscious “scripts,” which we tend to run on autopilot, include our thoughts, words, and actions that result from these. Some may even refer to them as “baggage.” While we can rewrite these scripts and stop them from contaminating our relationships, we only become aware of them when we are in an emotionally empowered state.

So, what are the signs of a good relationship?

It boils down to these four essential requirements:

  • Emotional empowerment
  • Aligned attraction
  • Sexual functioning
  • You and your partner

While we can take it upon ourselves to develop as an individual, a strong and healthy relationship results from both personal growth and teamwork with our partner in order to resolve any problems.

Let’s take a look at how we can do this.

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1. Emotional Empowerment

A clear sign of a good relationship is that both partners stay focused on what they want to create and how they want to feel. It can be too easy to blame our partner when we’re not feeling good about ourselves or somewhat overwhelmed with the curveballs that life seems to throw at us continually.

You may have heard of the saying, “Making mountains out of molehills.” When we’re not in charge of our emotional state, that’s precisely what we do!

Someone also said, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” Our words and the emotional power behind them are either being constructive or destructive in our relationships.

By trying to override your emotions and dredging up past situations, you may blow a current situation entirely out of context, keep retriggering yourself and your partner, and prevent essential issues from being resolved. Aside from that, it makes you feel disconnected.

As a reminder, allowing yourself to indulge in petty annoyances and sarcastic comments will likely drive a wedge between you and your partner. So, is that worth your attention?

When we focus on what we don’t want, we continually default to the old subconscious programming cultivated from our life experiences. These “scripts” can become self-destructive when expressed through negative rumination and self-talk or critical observations of our partner, rather than being the fun, uplifting, and naturally motivating partner that they fell in love with.

Many couples start competing against each other when they are emotionally triggered instead of supporting each other to create the best outcome. While we can quickly become obsessed with being right (or not being wrong), it’s essential to stay present, focus on how we want to feel, and align our words and actions toward that outcome.

Couples who enjoy a strong and healthy relationship consciously monitor their emotional states and can therefore influence the impact of their verbal and non-verbal communication in a positive manner. This offers a long-term benefit of enhancing their overall desire to be together and connect on more intimate levels.[1]

2. Attraction in Alignment

Known as the love and bonding hormone, oxytocin doesn’t just play an important role in intimacy. In truth, it’s also vital for increasing trust and attraction between two people. Synthesized in the human brain when you trust someone, the oxytocin molecule also motivates reciprocation.

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We’re living in an age where an individual’s independence is ruling the day, and the social codes of chivalry have become sadly redundant. However, it’s never a good time to become complacent in how we interact with each other and in respecting the environment we share.

According to Paul Zak, a neuroscientist and researcher at Claremont Graduate University, oxytocin is generated in the brain only after some concrete event or action, such as someone making way for you in the street.[2]

“When someone does something nice for you such as holding a door, your brain releases oxytocin, and it down-regulates the appropriate fear you have of interacting with strangers.” — Paul Zak

Suddenly, you feel like the person in front of you is not a threat. Then, according to Zak, this feeling disappears quickly for a good reason,

“If you just had high levels of oxytocin, you would be giving away resources to every stranger on the street. So, this is a quick on/off system.”

This has important implications for those in a relationship. Zak says:

“If you treat me well, in most cases my brain will synthesize oxytocin and this will motivate me to treat you well in return.”

In a relationship, our actions and behaviors are either attracting or repelling our partner. This is especially true when we have conflicting values. Common conflicting values include personal hygiene, health and fitness, and general tidiness.

It’s important to know and respect what’s important to our partner. After all, one of the real signs of a good relationship is having the desire to continually step up and live your “A” game.[3] When our partner takes the time to communicate something important to them, we need to acknowledge that it’s essential to keep a relationship long-term.

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While we like to think that our partner will be attracted to us no matter what, this is not realistic at all. “A” is for attraction, and we need to keep attracting our partner instead of being lazy and pretending we can get away with unappealing or inappropriate behaviors.

Any unresolved issue can build up resentment and undermine the quality of a relationship. However, the thought of approaching a challenging topic can increase stress and anxiety to the point where it is nearly impossible to clearly communicate the problem without it sounding like an accusation or blame.

Due to the fear of retriggering our partner by bringing up the same topic repeatedly, we often delay dealing with the issues that are of utmost importance to us. Over time, it can result in frustration, annoyance, and disconnection. We are sentient beings, so this type of emotional resistance can often be felt by the other person.

Furthermore, we usually communicate a part of a request out loud and then complete the reasoning behind it internally. Unfortunately, our partner doesn’t hear this internal monologue, so they have no idea about the extent or importance of our need. Therefore, many problems aren’t fully discussed, and the main issue remains unresolved.

“Prolonged stress and anxiety are like poison to oxytocin,” Paul Zak said. The underlying biological hypothesis is that stress — particularly the type that does not have a clear ending point — inhibits oxytocin release.

In a healthy relationship, both partners can retain the desire to step up and continue to attract each other through verbal and non-verbal communication. Try remembering the following:

  • Every person has their own preference for how things are done, so effective communication requires actively listening as well as clearly communicating your needs.
  • Before talking about an important matter, make sure you have your partner’s full attention. Then, try to keep your words focused in the here and now.
  • Instead of rehashing a similar experience from your past for context and risking triggering each other emotionally, get to the point and explain what you want at once. If you feel uncomfortable doing that, try starting a request with “I like it when…” or “It makes me feel…” You may also ask, “How can we work together to create a win-win situation?”
  • If something is important enough for your partner to mention out loud, then you must respect, consider, and adhere to it whenever possible. For example, if a partner is brave enough to open up about their need for sexual intimacy to feel more connected, it may be an issue that needs to be addressed in your relationship.

According to psychiatrist and Emory University professor Larry Young, increased intimacy can strengthen your connection as a couple, especially when you combine it with other rewarding experiences that get your brain’s reward system going.[4]

Verbally appreciate your partner’s effort in supporting your needs and make sure to retain your individuality and interests outside the relationship to keep your mutual attraction.

3. Sexual Function

Sex is the one thing that differentiates a strong, healthy relationship from a platonic friendship. Sexual intimacy is one of the most important signs of a good relationship and has often been described as the glue that holds a relationship together.

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Sexual intimacy allows two people who seek the ultimate connection with each other to come together. However, intimacy problems can lead to separation, loneliness, and disconnection — feelings that can eventually tear a relationship apart.

Unfulfilling sex leads to an increase in stress hormones which results in a lowered libido as sexual intimacy becomes a souce of discomfort on all levels. A common cause of a low libido is, for example, sexual function issues such as early ejaculation and erectile dysfunction challenges in men; and orgasmic dysfunction for women.[5] An unwanted sexual technique such as hard and fast or constant changes of position can also be off-putting.

While work stress, children rearing, and communication issues can all lower your libido and affect your overall desire for sex, a sexless marriage or relationship is not favorable for the vast majority of couples long-term.

One of the most important things for women in a relationship is to experience a sense of connection or feel loved and close to their partner. But this is where things can become tricky pretty quickly, considering women naturally have much higher levels of the bonding hormone oxytocin than men. For men, higher levels of oxytocin are generated through intimate connections.

What is the takeaway here, you may ask? Our hormones influence our behaviors, and oxytocin is said to be responsible for allowing us to experience love. In reality, studies have also shown that oxytocin can even work as the brain’s “moral molecule.” The more intimate moments we have, the more our bodies release the said hormone.

This is especially important for a male to feel more connected and attentive toward his partner. Research indicates that a man who is often sexually intimate with his beloved can produce increased levels of oxytocin.[6] In turn, it boosts his desire to hold and connect with his partner and stimulate positive social interaction.

A positive sign of a strong and healthy relationship is both partners’ desire to be intimate with each other. If either of the partners has little or no desire for initiating intimacy, then they need to address the issues mentioned in this article to restore intimacy in order to enjoy a truly fulfilling partnership.

Final Thoughts

The most important sign of being in a strong and healthy relationship is that you feel happy within yourself and in your connections.

While it’s not always possible to stay happy and connected with someone, ensuring that you are emotionally aligned with yourself and aware of your partner’s needs will go a long way to guarantee the health and longevity of your relationship.

After all, compelling narratives also cause oxytocin release and can affect your attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

More on Maintaining a Healthy Relationship

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

Reference

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