Last night I stumbled upon a slide show about one of my all time favorite women, Audrey Hepburn. She lived from her heart. Audrey Hepburn’s infectious loving, light-hearted and passionate soul was reflected in her personal and professional life; in ways I will always admire. 30 years later the starlet’s rapturous beauty and generosity of heart continues to shine.
Now, that’s a beautiful radiant woman!
“I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and… I believe in miracles.”
“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” Audrey Hepburn
What is inner beauty?
As a child in the Netherlands, Hepburn nearly died of hunger in a country devastated by World War II, and was rescued by the UN refugee programme. Towards the end of her life, she was asked about her beauty secrets. She replied with remarkable grace: ‘For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed. Never throw out anybody. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows.’
I’m aware I’m a long way from seeing beauty that way, and from never throwing anybody out. I could just let these lines drift away like an unattainable ideal. But if I allow myself to be touched by this altruistic and generous vision, I feel a warm glow in my heart. Something in me responds, bringing me closer to what is good and right, to everything precious in my being. And I want to be more like this woman who has gone so much further than I, and savoured that human generosity that is in all of us.
We in the west are so obsessed by our negative emotions that even scientific research has focused exclusively on them. Of the five basic emotions — disgust, fear, anger, sorrow and happiness — only one is positive, and that is rather insipid. Negative emotions are useful. Fear and anger stop us in our tracks and focus our attention on self-defence. ‘Put yourself first!’ they seem to shout.
On the other hand, when we’re exposed to the great generosity of someone we admire, a well-kept garden or an impressive landscape, the opposite reaction occurs. Being truly inspired also stops us in our tracks, and takes us out of our dreary habitual trains of thought. But instead of shutting us down, it opens our hearts and minds to new ways of being and receiving what the world has to offer us, and what we have to offer.