The greatest lesson I ever learned about self awareness, self esteem, and not judging another woman without walking a few miles in her shoes.
I was still married to my Saudi husband and we were on a large family vacation in Dubai. As the wife of a Saudi my hair was covered, I was wearing a long skirt, long sleeves etc.
At the time I was very overweight and feeling REALLY bad about myself. It didn’t help that my husband seemed to be looking at all the slim & pretty UNCOVERED women that we saw.
We went to this really amazing dinner with music and a fabulous belly dancer who kept flirting with my husband. The singer actually had the nerve to make fun of ME by putting the spotlight on ME to show that my face was covered in a big jealous scowl…. Needless to say when I went to the ladies room I was in a craptastic mood. While I was in there, a beautiful young Morrocan girl was on the phone and obviously from the conversation she was having, she was one of the many North African “working girls” that stay in Dubai. I started thinking HATEFUL things about this young lady… I stepped out of the stall and was about to give her a piece of my mind to go along with the HATEFUL glare I was already giving her, but her phone rang AGAIN so I just started to leave the restroom. All of a sudden she runs up to me from behind and drags me back into the ladies room and pulls the back of my skirt out of my waistband and makes sure my backside, legs etc were fully covered before I left to return to the table. The entire time she’s giggling and telling me in Arabic, don’t worry, no one saw, I got you in time Madame. She straightened out my skirt, helped me get my scarf set straight again and then said, Oh you’re so pale, healthy & pretty… By healthy I knew she meant heavy but I also understood that it means I not only have enough to eat, I have MORE THAN ENOUGH.
Instantly I felt a great sense of shame wash over me. Knowing this girl was here working but probably all the money was being sent home to a very poor family. I was thinking she was the worst type of female there is and yet she rushed to protect ME and prevent me from the kind of shame skin exposure like that would have brought down on my head. I hated myself for being overweight and felt UGLY & insecure so my heart took it out on her and yet her heart had enough compassion to rush in to save me from TOTAL humiliation and dishonor . That day I learned not to judge another for ANY reason and more importantly I learned to look INSIDE myself, judge MYSELF first, and realized that all those hateful feelings AGAINST her were more of a reflection about how I felt about myself. I said Thank you, kissed her on both cheeks and hurried back to the table. I think of her often, every time I get a little too full of myself, a little ungrateful for all that I have and send a silent thank you to the young lady who not only saved me from baring my butt to the world but saved me from becoming a judgemental A$$.