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…ABSOLUTELY!
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 nine 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:
- 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!
- Go back to the mirror and say, “I do not have to be perfect. My best is good enough.”
- 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,
I agree with all you have put to words here. I have been way too critical of many things including myself. This is not an easy pattern to break but I am working on it.
Thank you again,
Thank you for the reminder Howard – “My best is good enough” and my body is healing nicely !!
As always, right on target, Howard. Thank you once again :).
Wonderful blogpost today. I realized as I lay in bed reading these words this morning, crying with relief, that I never believe that anything I do is actually my best. I expect more always. I don’t even know what doing my best might look or feel like. That’s an example of the Parkinson’s mind cleverly finding a way to keep its toxic thinking going. Here’s what I say in response to that voice: You may now go away. Absolutely everything I do is my best. Best is not perfect, its just best given the circumstances. And anyway perfect doesn’t exist.
Anne, Portland, OR, USA
Howard, great post! I like this saying: “You were not born to be perfect, you were born to be real.” Thank you so much for the reminder and your caring about us!
When I was following the Recipe for Recovery I could not do it perfectly. When I was beginning, I worried sometimes that maybe it wouldn’t work for me because I could not do it “as well as Howard”. But I kept on, encouraged by his saying that my best was good enough. The shift into actually believing that if I did my best I would recover was huge for me. It put me on my own side, cheerleading, instead of criticizing myself.
My best was good enough. I recovered.
And my best is still good enough.
Thanks, Marie for the concept of being my own cheerleader. That is so helpful. Quite a shift as you said.
thank you Marie – you give inspiration to all of us – Jan
thank you Howard – as always – you help in so many ways – today is another gift of life – precious and perfect – we have free tomatoes from a good friend – food and drink and a lot of faith in my recovery from family and friends – and gradually I peek at the wisdom of the higher power – Jan
Thanks dear Howard, you always are so helpful, kind and supporting! Yes, this is the main point we need to change, THANK YOU, also to Marie, so nice that you still are supporting us as a recovered person🙏🙏
This is so encouraging!
Thank you, Howard.
Sharon in North Carolina