Fighting Parkinson’s, and your best is good enough…really!

Every now and again, a recurring theme pops up in coaching calls and in emails. I have found myself sending the link to a particular post many times this week, so I decided to bring it to the forefront and refresh it a bit. It is the reminder that your best is good enough…REALLY!

I need to address an issue that has been raised with me by a number of people. They tell me something like this: “I cannot do the Qigong exercises exactly like they are in the Recipe Manual or in the videos online, so I guess I will not be able to recover.” My response is simple: “When I had Parkinson’s, I could not do all of the Qigong exercises exactly like they are in the Recipe Manual or in the videos online, and I fully recovered. The only perfect Qigong is the one your body is allowing you to do when you are doing it. Your best is good enough.” Part of this recovery is learning that your best is good enough, and that you need to be kind to yourself on this issue.

When I had Parkinson’s, my balance was so poor that my center of balance was somewhere behind my heels. I hunched forward to not fall backwards. Mostly, I shuffled when I walked so I could keep my center of balance over my feet. In the second half of Medical Qigong for Liver, where you bend backwards, I could not even stand straight up, so I bent forwards and stood up as far as I could without losing my balance. It was my best, and it was good enough…I fully recovered.

When I had Parkinson’s, the near hand/far hand exercises became unbearably painful after a couple of weeks doing them as they appear in the Recipe Manual or how they are explained in the Recipe online. My fingers curled and my arms twisted, which brought me a large amount of pain. So, I sat in a chair, put my hands on my kidneys (lower back, either side of the spine), and I did the first one that way. I then took one hand out and put it on top of my head and did the second one that way. Why? Because it was the best I could do and my best was good enough…I fully recovered.

Ultimately, in being able to look at yourself and accept, yes, accept, that your best is good enough, you first have to learn to be kind to yourself. Over the last five years, I have met with, spoken to, Skyped and FaceTimed with, and exchanged emails with, hundreds of people with Parkinson’s. You are some of the kindest and most giving people I have met…kind and giving to others…not yourselves.

You tend to put additional pressure on yourselves to be better at everything than anybody else. It is that drive for the unattainable perfection that helped you bring your Parkinson’s symptoms to the surface in the first place…you are doing your absolute best, but you still feel it is not good enough. On the other hand, you are accepting, and kind, and giving, and compassionate to those around you who are doing their best and not being perfect. Something in your mind says, “It is okay for them to be less than perfect because I am going to be perfect enough for all of us.”

And, as a result of the expectation that you have to be perfect, you never stop thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking…your Adrenaline-mode mind does not stop. Because, to be perfect, you realize at some level that there are multiple exceptions that go to every rule, and there are multiple corollaries that go to every theorem, and there are multiple options that go with every choice…and you have to run them all down and solve them all, and they keep branching out into more exceptions and more corollaries and more options, and you can see where this cycle goes…it is endless.

For those of you without Parkinson’s, this scenario may seem strange and stressful. For those of you with Parkinson’s, I know many of you are reading this and thinking, “So, what’s your point. This is how things work, no big deal.” Here is my point: Thinking this way is a BIG DEAL! It cuts across all three causes of what brings Parkinson’s to the surface as diagnosable symptoms.

It causes anger and frustration and resentment and stress and anxiety because you simply cannot solve every problem and every scenario. First, you get angry at the situation, and second, you get angry at yourselves for being less than perfect and not “having all the answers.” Click here for more on transforming anger.

The anger and frustration and resentment and stress and anxiety make it difficult to eat properly and you suffer from dietary disaster. Solving all these problems becomes more important than what or when or how you eat. Click here for more on healthy dietary choices.

You burn the candle at both ends and in the middle and your mind never stops thinking, which completely wears it down and upsets your bodies’ natural rhythms. Click here for more on acceptance to calm the mind.

So, how do you reverse this mess? Begin by being kind to yourself and fully accepting that your best is good enough.

How to begin the process of being kind to yourself:
1. Look in the mirror and say, “I am not perfect. My best is good enough.” For many of you, I know this will take some courage and resolve. The rest of us will patiently wait while you go take care of this. It is that important!
2. Go back to the mirror and say, “I do not have to be perfect. My best is good enough.”
3. I know, lots of time in the mirror — Go back to the mirror and say, “When I am doing my best, it IS good enough.” This one seems logical, but it is not. Many of you have told me, “I am doing my best, but I do not think it is good enough.”

Your best is your best; you cannot do any better than that. Be kind to yourself and accept that if you are doing your best, it is the best you can do, and it is good enough!

That is the formula to being kind to yourself. When somebody else falls short of an accomplishment, you offer them compassion and comfort and say, “That’s okay, you did your best, you have nothing to be ashamed of. It just wasn’t meant to happen.” Being kind to yourself means offering yourself the exact same compassion and comfort you offer others in the same circumstances.

These are critical lessons if you want to be successful with the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery® and with your recovery. Here is why:
The Recipe is a soul, mind, and body recovery. If you do the body part (Qigong) and at the end, you say to yourself, “I did not do that Qigong perfectly or even good enough, so I probably will not recover,” you have moved backwards. Whatever benefit you have gained for the body is great, but your mind is in negative (self-beating) mode, and your soul is losing faith in recovery.

Be kind to yourself and turn this around:
At the conclusion of doing the Qigong, say to yourself, “In this moment of doing Qigong, I did the best possible Qigong that my Parkinson’s body would allow and I did great in moving forward with my recovery!” That attitude propels your mind with positive thinking, and it propels your soul with continuing faith and hope in your recovery.

There is nothing wrong with being kind to yourself. In fact, being kind to yourself will liberate you as you move forward on your path toward recovery.

So, while you are continuing to be kind to others, keep the happiness and joy and compassion alive by being kind to yourself.

And do not be afraid of being vulnerable. As Socrates tells Dan in The Peaceful Warrior, “A warrior is not about perfection or victory or invulnerability. He’s about absolute vulnerability.” How about being a warrior in your fight against Parkinson’s by being vulnerable, admitting that you are not perfect, and that your best is good enough. You can do this!

You are worth it!!!

All my best,



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13 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and your best is good enough…really!

  1. Helen says:

    Thank you Howard I often expect too much of myself then feel bad when I don’t meet my own expectations. I am kinder to myself than I have ever been but I can be kinder and accept my best is good enough and sometimes my best is a lot and sometimes not. Peaceful warrior I will get this book sounds great. Much love and thank you for your guidance. Love to all the pk peaceful kindred warriors

  2. Tony says:


  3. Margee says:

    Howard- thank you as always for a wonderful post! You were describing yourself when you mentioned being caring and giving. In the last several days, I have begun to close my eyes as I do the recipe exercises. I realized, that by looking in the mirror, I was judging myself, as I tried to do it perfectly. This is helping me be more relaxed, focused, and I actually feel as if I am benefitting physically. Thank you for the reminder that my best is good enough. Big hugs to you, Howard, and to all you other caring and giving people.

  4. What wonder-full words, Howard…they lead me to acceptance, love and compassion for myself…qualities that I’ve longed for all my life and looked to others to fulfill…what liberation there is in realizing that the most effective person to provide those qualities to me… is myself! And you, dear soul, provide the guidance and coaching I most need at just the right time. I am so very blessed…. thank you…thank you…thank you.

  5. Karen in Ireland says:

    Hi Howard and fellow Warriors, great reminder Howard. My right hand claws and my right shoulder is very painful at moment, so I find it difficult to do the circle movements on liver exercises, so I simply rest hands there and tell my higher self that it’s my intention to energise these points before the side bend. It’s the best I can do.
    Still dancing the dance with Parkinson’s but my sister told me the other day about the word ” Guidance” . It’s a lovely interpretation of the word. ” God u and I dance” :-) I am learning to let God take the lead, he knows the dance that’s laid out for me better than I do, including the timing needed to complete the dance. I trust and follow his lead as best I can. I think surrendering to his wisdom and disciplining the fear of my mind, is the only way to finish this dance. Big Love to All. God Rocks! :-)
    Karen xx

  6. jimmy says:

    gracias por ese recordatorio Howard es importante divertirse mientras se hacen los ejercicios.


    Howard thanks for that reminder is important to have fun while doing the exercises.

  7. Debbie says:

    Hi Howard and Everyone,
    Thank you for an amazing post. I know that my best is good enough but I have had to work on (Realizing When) I am doing my best. My problem seems to be that no matter what or how I am doing things….I always think ” if I would have tried a little harder, or done it a little different or put a little more time into it, or made a different decision….. I could have done better, I know better, so was it ever really my best?” I am working on trusting my moment to moment decisions and not second guessing myself afterwards. It helps for me to live in the moment without frustration or regret of the past, or without worry or fear of the future; having full faith. When I do this … it seems that whatever I am doing IS my best and that I can truly trust myself.
    I don’t suppose that this post would make a lot of sense to just anyone, but maybe some of you can relate to it :)
    Howard, do you have any suggestions on how to realize that most of the time, I really am doing my best? That seems to be what I question. I know a persons best is good enough. Maybe it comes down to loving and accepting myself just the way I am.
    I feel very blessed for the abundant life I have and live. I feel blessed to have found this blog . Thank you for sharing with me. I hope everyone has a great 4th of July weekend. (Even those of you who are not in the USA :) )
    Sending out lots of Smiles, Love and Blessings to all
    I am doing great :)

  8. Shawna Carol says:

    I can’t believe how much I could relate to Debbie’s post! The second guessing, the going over and over what has passed, and the disbelief that my best was really my best. Thank you so much for posting my reality so I could see it clearly.

    Howard, thank you so much for sharing what it was actually like physically for you to do the Qiqong exercises. It really answered a question I had about my own modifications. Now I know that it worked for you and it will work for me.

    Love to all,


    • Debbie says:

      Hi Shawna,
      I have come to realize, by putting it to the test this week, that Faith is truly a choice. I am practicing that choice moment to moment as I go about my day. I choose not only to have Faith in God, faith in the Recipe for Recovery, but also faith in myself and in my ability to make good choices. The past is the past…I choose to let it go. I choose to have faith in myself now, and concentrate on being positive in the moment. I choose to have faith in my ability to regain full health.
      I have found that one of the key ingredients of being successful in having faith in myself and in my ability to do my best is controlling my thoughts! If I can control my thoughts, I can over come bad habits. Thinking unhealthy thoughts that fill my mind with self doubt is simply a bad habit. By mastering my thoughts, I allow them to work for me instead of against me. This allows me to enjoy happiness and peace.
      As I go through my day I check my thoughts. Are they building my faith that I am doing my best or tearing it down? One of the best ways to get rid of bad thoughts is to replace them with good ones until the good thoughts become habit.
      Inspirational music, with words that are uplifting works best for me. Songs that fill my mind with good thoughts and my heart with gladness. They can be simple fun songs or songs that have greater meaning . It doesn’t seem to matter. As I sing these songs in my mind, and feel the words in my heart, the bad thoughts leave. I have Faith that this will become my new habit .
      I have Faith in God, Faith in Myself, and Faith in the Recipe for Recovery. I will continue to demonstrate this choice of Faith, by my thoughts as well as my actions.
      I hope that this makes sense to you and will help in some little way.
      Have the best of weeks!
      I am so grateful for my life and my ability to learn, grow, and to choose Faith.
      Sending smiles, love and blessings your way,

  9. Jane says:

    Howard, Thank you! So perfect. Great blessings and love as ever, Your posts keep a bright light shining, radiating faith and confidence like a great angel with deeply good tidings that lift the heart and restore the soul, Jane

  10. Melanie says:

    Thank you Howard, for the reminder that my Best is good enough! Thank you for your constant support and encouragement. You are the best!

  11. Pingback: Fighting Parkinson’s, and acceptance, surrender, technology, and OKAY! | Fighting Parkinson's Drug Free

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