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Be Lovely In The Audrey Hepburn Way

Be Lovely In The Audrey Hepburn Way

Most people know Audrey Hepburn for her works in classic films like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, “Sabrina”, and “My Fair Lady”. Born in Belgium, Audrey spent most of her childhood in Belgium, England, and the Netherlands studying ballet. Audrey shot to stardom after landing a role in the Broadway play “Gigi”, which led to her first substantial film role in “Roman Holiday”. Audrey Hepburn received many awards throughout her career, and  is still one of the few stars to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award. While her work in Hollywood is infamous, after age 40, Audrey appeared in fewer films and began working heavily with UNICEF. For the rest of her life, she worked in poor, developing areas of Africa, South America, and Asia. Audrey Hepburn proved that gorgeous women can be powerful and intellectual, which was particularly unique during the 1950’s to 1970’s. In addition to her career and humanitarian accomplishments, Audrey Hepburn spoke English, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and German. Such a diverse and skilled woman truly lived her life in a way all of us can learn from. The following 15 quotes from Audrey Hepburn are sure to rouse you to be the best you can be.

1. Live Your Life

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.”

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    In a world full of greed and power-hungry public figures, it’s refreshing to be reminded that life is simply meant to be lived.

    2. Don’t Forget About Others

    “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands: one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

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      This poignant way of looking at ourselves reminds us that somewhere out there someone else has it worse off than you. However, this quote also speaks to how important it is to take care of yourself in order to be in a position to help others.

      3. Solitude Can Be Healthy

      “I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.”

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        It’s rare to hear famous figures express the benefit of stepping away from attention. Though all of us want to achieve our goals in life and at work, everyone functions better when we’re properly rested and approaching life in a balanced way.

        4. Actions Define Us

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

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          This succinct summary of how to approach other people is an elegant reminder that actions speak louder than words.

          5. The Journey Is What Matters

          “Success is like reaching an important birthday and finding you’re exactly the same.”

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            Much like focusing on enjoying our life, this brilliant quote about success highlights the importance of enjoying the journey rather than obsessing over your destination.

            6. Too Much Attention Can Be Bad

            “There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl’s complexion.”

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              Audrey was one of the few stars to approach their public life with a balanced perspective. This lovely quote reminds all of us that attention is temporary. Moreover, no one should sell out their character in order to seek approval.

              7. Be Selfless

              “It’s that wonderful old-fashioned idea that others come first and you come second. This was the whole ethic by which I was brought up. Others matter more than you do, so ‘don’t fuss, dear; get on with it.’”

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                Increasingly, today’s world of social media drives us to be concerned with ourselves more than ever. This energizing quote reminds us that sometimes it is sincerely more important to consider the greater good.

                8. Happiness Is Simple

                “I heard a definition once: Happiness is health and a short memory! I wish I’d invented it, because it is very true.”

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                  Similarly, this wonderful definition of happiness reminds us to appreciate the great things in our lives while we have them.

                  9. We’re All The Same Inside

                  “I’m half-Irish, half-Dutch, and I was born in Belgium. If I was a dog, I’d be in a hell of a mess!”

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                    In the era Audrey Hepburn lived, racism was largely acceptable, mainly institutionalized, and even falsely propped up by erroneous “science”. From someone perceived to be from one race, such a bold statement that each of us is simply a mix of humanity is truly a stirring approach to what can be an ugly, judgemental subject.

                    10. Appreciate The Moment

                    “Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering – because you can’t take it in all at once.”

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                      This beautiful metaphor is another impressive way to think about our life’s journey. Especially in a world where we take pictures first and experience second, this electrifying reminder to live in the moment is one we should all remember more often.

                      11. Value Your Voice

                      “Why change? Everyone has his own style. When you have found it, you should stick to it.”

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                        This motivating quote illustrates why you should celebrate your unique qualities. Each person has their own voice, and Audrey Hepburn understood that sticking to this inner compass is what really makes life work for you.

                        12. Seize Each Opportunity

                        “I’ve been lucky. Opportunities don’t often come along. So, when they do, you have to grab them.”

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                          Another impassioned approach to life, each of us should be unafraid to go after the things we want.

                          13. Never Give Up On Someone

                          “People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.”

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                            A powerful view of forgiveness, this encouraging reminder to treat people kindly and with understanding is more applicable today than ever.

                            14. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

                            “I don’t take my life seriously, but I do take what I do – in my life – seriously.”

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                              Another impressive reminder to enjoy life without becoming overly stressed out, this quote illustrates the difference between taking your goals seriously and becoming too critical of ourselves.

                              15. Aim High

                              “I tried always to do better: saw always a little further. I tried to stretch myself.”

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                                Ultimately, the path to success requires each of us to work harder and push further each and every day. If Audrey Hepburn’s life is any indication, there really is no limit to what you can achieve.

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                                Alicia Prince

                                A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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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.

                                Posture

                                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.

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                                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]

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                                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.

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                                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]

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                                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 unsplash.com

                                Reference

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