Fighting Back with Kindness and Compassion

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by BioNews Staff |

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Graphic credit: Jean Mellano

“It doesn’t matter what cards you’re dealt. It’s what you do with those cards. Never complain. Just keep pushing forward. Find a positive in anything and just fight for it.”Baker Mayfield (American football player)

A mantra of the Rock Steady Boxing (RSB) program is to fight back. This motto empowers those of us with Parkinson’s disease to battle this illness. We must not let our guards down. We need to fight back every day of our lives to maintain our quality of life.

Weak? Not!

Recently, while taking a high-intensity interval training class, I realized that I needed to add onto that RSB slogan for myself: I must fight back — with compassion. Some days, I have to force myself to exercise. Due to the nature of my symptoms, I am sometimes too slow-moving, fatigued, or miserable to complete my daily routine.

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However, since bad days are inevitable with Parkinson’s, I must remember to be kind and compassionate to myself. I need to acknowledge that I am not weak or lazy. Instead, I must accept that this disease affects me in ways that I cannot control. I can only do my best, and I must let go by recognizing the bad days.

Perfectionist and control freak

Even if I did not have Parkinson’s, it’s in my nature to beat myself up if I can’t complete my workout. My perfectionism is to my detriment. Plus, I often compare myself to my fellow participants who may be fit, healthy, and probably half my age.

“The more I expect, the more unhappy I am going to be. The more I accept, the more serene I am.”Michael J. Fox

As I have said in the past, our greatest strengths can also be our most challenging weaknesses. The fact that I am a control freak and a perfectionist may have helped me in my career. However, those traits do not always serve me well as I battle Parkinson’s.

Lesson learned

Yes, I will continue to fight back. However, I will focus on doing it with kindness and compassion.

“The truth is we’re all a little bit broken. We must learn to love the broken pieces of ourselves – be gentle and empathetic with ourselves, and others.”Karen Salmansohn (self-help author)


Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Norman Brock avatar

Norman Brock

Hi Jean,
I love to read your columns, your words inspire me. My glass is half full & we can only play the hand we are delt, best done with a positive attitude


hi Norman, thanks for your encouragement. as i am sure you know, some days are harder than others to remain positive,


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