It’s one of the hallmarks of the upcoming festive season, but what does it actually mean to be kind?
With Monday marking World Kindness Day, the spotlight was on the definition of the word in today’s world.
It seems Australians are more adept than most to judge what constitutes kindness, with Queensland’s Gold Coast named the world’s first Kindness City by the World Kindness Movement.
This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the World Kindness Movement.
World Kindness Australia Chairman Michael Lloyd-White said while many people commit what they believe to be kind acts, the definition is not so straightforward.
“It’s not about hearts, flowers, sugar, spice and all things nice,” he said.
“Too often, kindness gets mistaken for weakness and being gender specific.
“It doesn’t fit into the male stereotype that’s been conditioned to make the hard decisions and choose the lesser of two evils, which today has become the anti-kind option.
“To me, kindness is about the courage to speak up on behalf of somebody else when there is absolutely nothing in it for you.
“Courage and kindness are both selfless.”
A message of kindness and understanding is central to the campaigns of many mental health organisations across Australia, including this month’s Movember initiative.