Audrey Hepburn: Her 5 Most Inspirational Quotes

Audrey Hepburn: Her 5 Most Inspirational Quotes

Audrey Hepburn is one of the world’s most important, notable and beloved actresses, encompassing the history of Hollywood to remain a recognized screen goddess for her incredible talent, her exceptional beauty, and the fact that she retreated from film to become a full-time mother and humanitarian for UNICEF. So, what advice can Audrey offer to the world? It will be twenty-one years this January since she sadly passed on, and so it feels only appropriate that we revisit the lessons and inspirational quotes that she was accredited with saying, and find some of the best that we can apply to our lives to make a positive transformation.

I tried always to do better. Saw always a little further. I tried to stretch myself.

Despite my all-encompassing love for Audrey Hepburn, one of her lesser-known inspirational quotes is all about her impressive work ethic and the way she maintained a work-life balance. Audrey worked hard to get where she wanted to go—years of dance classes, years of rejection—and she kept going because she wanted it. That doesn’t mean she was ruthless enough to put the concerns of herself above the concerns of other people—she just kept her head down and worked hard. That’s not to say everything she did turned to gold—I’ll be the first to admit that some of her films were real flops and that as a singer, she was hardly top of the pile, but she never stopped trying and always sought to get out of her comfort zone, to grow as an actress and as a human being. That’s something pretty inspirational.


    Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!

    Audrey always had a sense of indefatigable optimism and a belief in herself. In her life, she had been through years and years of suffering, terror, and ill health: as a child she was subjected to the threat of the Nazis’ occupation of her native Belgium and of her war-time home in Arnhem, the Netherlands. She suffered from malnutrition, jaundice and other ailments, but she kept looking forward towards the future. No matter what circumstances and situations she found herself in at times, she kept on believing in the impossible and the seemingly unreachable. She was able to work hard and keep on dreaming and looking forward. In that way, we should all always keep moving forward, accepting what we can and looking to change things, if possible.


      The most important thing is to enjoy your life. To be happy. It’s all that matters.

      Audrey had a tumultuous personal life—a rumored relationship with the married William Holden, marriages to two different men (Mel Ferrer, an actor, and Andrea Dotti, a psychiatrist) and plenty of public interest that must have made her life extremely difficult to live. Despite all this, Audrey managed to keep her life as private as possible and according to friends and family was blissfully happy. During her final relationship with Rob Wolders, which many consider to be her best and truest love, she left the Hollywood spotlight to become a humanitarian and mother full-time, and was extremely joyful in this. Audrey pointed out that life is short and thus is important in its brevity—we have such little time overall, we have to spend it being happy and making others happy at the same time. Time to embrace the joy!


        You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.

        Audrey Hepburn was a fully fledged optimist and believer in the goodness of people and so often practiced what she preached—that talking about people isn’t good karma and isn’t something we should be doing. Talking badly about people—mean gossip, harsh backstabbing, whatever—just results in the person being fairly or unfairly insulted and everyone around you considering you a person who can be cruel, although they may not admit it. In Pamela Keogh’s book, What Would Audrey Do?, the stories of Audrey are related by celebrity friends, past and present, and all of them state that no one had a bad word to say about her because she never had a bad word to say about anyone else. That’s not to say she didn’t get angry or upset or felt mean in private, but she used restraint, tact and compassion around those in her life. The lesson here is that while smack-talking is all the rage, maybe speaking words of compassion and kindness should be a virtue we should try to practice.


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

          This is probably the truest and most inspirational quote that Audrey Hepburn has ever had attributed to her: the simple and powerful idea that the best thing in life is to make and maintain powerful and loving human connections. Audrey certainly made her own mark in these respects during her own lifetime. She was adored by millions, won scores of fans and friends everywhere she went, did good and raised awareness for the disadvantaged around the world, and was a mother and wife. We can’t all go around changing the world with massive acts, but the way we connect with human beings on a simple, instinctual level, is worth exploring and working on. We could all always be more kind and considering and forgiving, and so holding on to those connections and friendships and relationships is a positive facet of the human experience that is inspirational in itself. Audrey Hepburn suggested that the ties that bind are the important ones, and that’s a rather important lesson we should all take to heart.

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            Last Updated on January 15, 2021

            7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

            7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

            The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

            Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.


            First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

            • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
            • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
            • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
            • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

            All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

            Facial Expressions

            Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

            • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
            • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
            • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

            If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.


            1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

            A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

            The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

            This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

            2. Relax Your Face

            New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

            The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

            To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]


            3. Improve Your Eye Contact

            Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

            The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

            To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

            3. Smile More

            There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

            Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

            4. Hand Gestures

            Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.


            It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

            5. Enhance Your Handshake

            In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

            “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

            It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

            6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

            As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

            Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]


            Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

            Final Takeaways

            Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

            If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

            More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

            Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via


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