Fighting Parkinson’s, and being perfect

I do not like using labels, but this is one that fits most with Parkinson’s: Perfectionism. Like me, prior to and during much of my time with Parkinson’s, most of the rest of you feel that you have to do everything perfectly. And, like me, most of you are intelligent enough to know that you cannot do everything perfectly. Do you see the problem here?

Over the last couple of weeks, I have had this conversation with many people, the perfectionism conversation. However, it has landed on a new level of awareness that looks like this:

“Do you feel that you need to do things perfectly?”

“Please provide me a list of everything you have done perfectly in your life.”

“Since you have never done anything perfectly, do you feel you have had any successes in life?”

“Can you see where this will provide a mental block to you being successful in your full recovery? That is, if you cannot look at your life and see any successes, don’t you think it will block you from the success of your full recovery?”

“And, is this feeling at least in part because you do not feel you are doing the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery® perfectly?”

Now, do all of you see the problem here? Perfectionism is setting yourself up to fail for no other reason than whatever you did, no matter how well you did it, no matter how much praise or how many awards you have won from it or how much money have you earned from it, or no matter how many people said it was absolutely perfect…to you, it was not perfect…so, to you, it was a failure. That is a BIG PROBLEM!

I have heard from people over the years that they did not think they were doing the Recipe perfectly, so they knew they would not be having a recovery. I have explained countless times that there is no perfect way to do the Recipe. I could not do the Recipe exactly how it is listed, for example, because my balance was poor I could not bend backwards in Medical Qigong for the Liver. It did not prevent me from my full recovery.

To help you move away from perfectionism, please accept that you are doing your best, and that your best is good enough. Click here for a reminder of just how important this concept is. Please repeat, “I am doing my best, and my best is good enough!”

If your life would feel completely undone if you were not striving to be perfect, here is the one area where being perfect will work very well for all of you: Be perfectly HAPPY. Happiness is a choice. So, choose to be happy and do it perfectly.

To assist you in choosing to be perfectly happy, I am going to borrow a thought from our good friend Penny Wassman. Last year when I did a post about your right to be happy, Penny suggested, “I think it might be a great fit for our group to adopt Pharrell Williams wonderful song “Happy” as our PD group theme song.” Thank you, Penny. I’m all in!

Choose to be happy, perfectly happy…and smile.

You are worth it!!!

All my best,



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19 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and being perfect

  1. Lisa says:

    Hallelujah! My best is good enough! One day at a time :). Upward and onward. We claim health and victory.
    Thank you Howard, for your continued encouragement. We remain focused!

  2. Shawna Carol says:

    Great post!

    There’s a wonderful book by Barry Neil Kaufman called “Happiness Is A Choice”.


  3. Karen in Ireland says:

    Hi Howard and fellow Warriors, lovely post Howard. Great great song choice Penny, one of my favourites. :-) I am ” choosing” to be positive about my recovery since Howard’s message to me last week. AND I am applying Marie’s advice on feeling the joyous loving thoughts for 15 seconds and longer at a time. :-) Got a message today that made me smile ” Aim High, Ride Easy,Trust God” :-)
    Big Love to all. No whinging from Karen this week! Thank God I hear you all say! Lol xx

  4. carmel says:

    Thanks for the excellent post Howard. Yes I can see that trying to be
    so perfect in everything – causes a mental block to succeeding with
    my recovery. My best is good enough and I’m perfectly happy with that!

  5. Tony says:

    Thank you Howard! and its true get your mind off of Parkinsons and put it on happy things and everything will work itself out. I know this is very hard to do when your not feeling well but the reason for not feeling well stems from worrying about the Parkinsons.

    Happy Healthy thoughts must create a Happy Healthy body!

  6. ken says:

    The video makes me happy just listening to it, those guys sure have the moves.
    Good theme suggestion Penny.
    I’m guilty of striving to be perfect, it is so draining that I’m going to try my best
    to just be Happy and live in the moment. Forget about things I can’t change.
    Like Howard says people with pd are the most compassionate and caring people,
    which is proven on this blog, I would also like to include people who have had pd.

  7. Kjell says:

    Love and hugs to you everybody and and Howard master extraordinarie.
    Big smile after Pharrell
    Thank you all for love and support
    My best is good enough and Im worth it!!!

  8. Barry T says:

    Here’s what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had to say about happiness:

    ” Enjoy your life and be happy. Being happy is of the utmost importance. Success in anything is through happiness. More support of nature comes from being happy. Under all circumstances be happy, even if you have to force it a bit, to change some long standing habits. Just think of any negativity that comes at you as a raindrop falling into the ocean of your bliss. You may not always have an ocean of bliss, but think that way anyway and it will help it to come. Doubting is not blissful and does not create happiness. Be happy, healthy, and let all that love flow through your heart.”

  9. Joe says:

    Great post Howard! I just realized that I need to bring more happiness into my life. I need to not worry and be happy. Thank you Howard!

  10. Marie says:

    Whoever coined the axiom “anything worth doing is worth doing well” was most likely a perfectionist! I had internalized that message, and it kept me from trying many things because I could tell , beforehand, that I would not do well enough. Well for me meant perfect. I compared myself to people wh0 were the best in the world, and felt that if I could not measure up to that standard then I shouldn’t try. In fact, it would be embarrassing to try, because then others around me would see that I thought I was good enough.
    One day I heard someone challenge that idea. She said “anything worth doing is worth doing badly”! If it is worth doing, then it is worth doing regardless of how well. I found that tremendously liberating.
    I followed the Recipe for Recovery the only way I could….IMPERFECTLY!!!…but that did not stop me from changing my life in simple yet profound ways and recovering completely.
    I’m happy, right now!

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Marie you are such a gift the way you keep sharing your journey. Bless your beautiful heart. :-) xx

    • judy says:

      Thank-you, Marie. Thank-you for staying connected and
      blessing us with your insight and experience.

  11. jimmy says:

    It seems to have many reasons to be unhappy and we often hear constantly listed!
    “Because of this and because of that …” Could we stop and let love and happiness in our life comes? That is the
    joy. it’s behind a door we’re holding closed! Is it perhaps the “fear of being happy”? . It is the
    lack of self-worth, a lack of understanding of your own splendor as an angel in the universe. Blessed
    the Human Being who let the divine joy into your life, because that pulls down the door of fear and
    It lets in the truth. The Human Being who does not have joy is the one that is resisting it

  12. Debbie says:

    Hi Everyone,
    My thinking has been very similar to how Marie’s was. I believed that my best was good enough, but I did not believe that I was doing my best unless I was doing it perfect. I always thought of my best and perfect as the same. This is definitely not a formula for success. I am glad to say that although this is the way I once thought, I do not think that way anymore. I am glad to be the first to admit that I am not perfect. I do not have to wait for a time in the future when I do things perfectly to be happy or healthy. I am grateful for my life, and am happy today, right now!!! I am greatly blessed. Thanks to each of you for your beautiful comments. Thanks Howard for always moving me forward with a smile on my face. I can feel all of you smiling back.
    Thank you !!
    Love and Blessings

  13. Verinica Urquhart says:

    Thank you Howard for such a great message. How true it is of some of us folk trying too hard. Mother Terese says ‘ success is work done in peace. Unless your work is interwoven with love, it is useless. Don’t look to achieve big things but just do small things with the greatest love’. In the words of Peace Pilgrim’ When you know your part in the Divine plan you will never feel inadequate’. I guess they are trying to tell us something. Love to you all.

    Veronica 🌺🌺

  14. Tom says:

    Thank you all for the wise, kind words, giving me something to bubble up to moment by moment; searching for that happiness gene, only a smile away. I allow myself to have this.

  15. Barry T says:

    Dear Karen,

    I read your posts and they always fill me with love and inspiration. You have such an abundance of pluck and mettle and enthusiasm that never fails to fill me with awe. And you also have a great sense of humor. (The word “spunk” originally occurred to me but then I discovered that one of its meanings is off-color in Britain.)

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      I’m smiling Barry :-) thank you for your lovely message and I’m delighted that my posts do you some good my friend. Sometimes I feel I am such a contradiction . When I’m upbeat I’m all fired up, but boy when I’m down, I’m near suicidal. Old parky takes me from heaven to hell on a very regular basis. Well the power is mine, so it’s more honest to say, I let him :-) . Hope you’re seing positive changes Barry. We are due a number 6! :-) xx

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