As a life coach and writer, Bernadette Petrie tells us ‘judgement’ is always the marker that reveals how she is experiencing loving this thing called life.

They say you teach and write about what you need to learn, and this certainly is the case for me. I fall flat on my face more times than I’d like to admit (that’s my shadow). Like many people, I found 2020 to be incredible challenging, and as I emerge into 2021 it feels as if more of my gremlins and unowned shadows are being shaken and stirred. It’s a nudge from the Universe to deepen the levels of forgiveness and acceptance for all of who I am. It requires me to fall more in love with all of my current life.

Love all the parts of you, that you would deny.

When I stop to consider what those parts might be, I need look no further than the parts of others I have been judging, disliking and even resenting. Sure, we can all have an echo chamber around us of people who agree with and admire us, but sending real love and compassion to those who challenge or niggle us is unconditional love in motion. Can you relate to this? If you do, I imagine a few names have popped into your mind. When we judge, we only compound the problem, and we starve ourselves of the love, that in truth, is the elixir of a joyful loving life. 

I stand by the belief that I am a being of light on a human journey, but so is every other human on this planet. And there is no light without shadow. Every human that triggers me is a reflection of myself. Life is a mirror and loving life is the inner work which reflects outwards. By being aware of the shadow elements reflected back to us from others, we have a choice. We can breathe in all of who we are, make peace and accept our humanity and feel the power of love, or we can stay stuck in the story of old. The one which cries – it was his fault, her fault, they are wrong. We may get to be right, but we won’t be free and we certainly won’t feel ‘in love’.

Think again of someone who has been triggering you. Hold their image in your mind and ask yourself – what is this person showing me about myself? Pay attention to those feelings and instead of numbing those feelings, allow yourself to feel them. Let the feelings run through you, resist running away from them. By embracing these feelings, we find compassion for ourselves and the other party too. 

If we really want things to change for the better we have to be part of the solution. In this month of love and important year of transformation and healing, we have  a choice. The choice to own, love and forgive the parts we would rather hide away. By stepping into the shoes of the ones we judge we can find the parts of us which have been waiting for us to be their Valentine.

With love until the next time.

Bernadette Petrie is the creator of The Barefoot Sanctuary and author of Permission To Shine, available at all online book stores |