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My Kind of Kind

Blog | Life and Leadership   |   May 20, 2015

by Shefali Menezes

Kindness is a language the world speaks.  No matter where a person might come from, or what their background might be, kindness is something that everyone understands. It is an act the world craves.

As a child, I loved to read about the animal kingdom. I remember that one of the most touching (and human-like) acts that I read about was when an animal would adopt an abandoned baby cub that was not its own. The adoptive parent would raise the adopted cub, feed, protect and defend it, as though it were its own. That was mind boggling for me. I often wondered about what caused an animal to behave in this manner.  Could the adoptive parent simply not see that the adopted cub was not its own kind?

The concept of kindness makes a lot of sense.  Just like in the animal kingdom, we find that people are often kind to others not because they see a similarity (in race or background) but simply because they sense a desperate need for help.

I moved to Singapore 1.5 years ago and having come from Mumbai, India, I found myself struggling with the unfamiliarity of culture and context (and Singlish!).  I had every desire to adapt and adjust to life in Singapore, but I had very little idea of how to do it.  Looking back, I am very grateful to my colleagues in Singapore who went out of their way to get to know me, show me around the city, spend the day with me on my birthday, and eat Indian food with me when I missed familiar flavors.  I realize now that my move to Singapore might have been quite a different experience if not for the people who sensed my need for help.

I think that every person, deep down, has a desperate craving for kindness.  However, in our human pride, we prefer to hide it and to appear self-sufficient.  I remember trying so hard to look like I had everything under control and didn’t need any help.  I did not like to expose any vulnerability for fear of it being confused with weakness.  However, there is a certain vulnerability that we need to come to terms with for basic survival and wellbeing – we need other people in our lives, to accept us, love us, forgive us – to be kind to us.

Questions to ponder on:

Are there instances in your life when you needed help, but worked hard to appear self-sufficient?

Is there anyone around you at the workplace or at home that may be in need of help?

Drop me your thoughts at

Shefali was a Senior Consultant at ROHEI for two years before moving to Melbourne to start a family.

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