Why Do We Always Compare?

It is only human to look for similarities and differences in situations. Even my children, from a very young age, began to compare and contrast old information with new. They look for similarities and differences in how they look, talk, and experience the world around them. So it seems only natural that we compare our experience of psoriatic arthritis with the experience of others. But at what point does it become more detrimental than helpful?

We all have unique experiences

Each and every individual’s experience of the symptoms and complications of psoriatic arthritis is unique. Not only that, but everyone is also at a different point in their journey. We know this, and yet here we sit, comparing, and dare I say, even judging others and ourselves. In our attempts to relate to others, to find support from people whose experience is similar to ours, we compare. We make assumptions. We even evaluate others based on how they compare with us.


If someone appears to have it “worse” than us, then we feel like we should count ourselves “lucky” or somehow feel “better” that we don’t have it as bad. Or even like we don’t have the right to “complain” or be upset that we have PsA at all. That is a terrible thing to do to ourselves. Thinking that way does nothing to validate our feelings or actually make us feel “lucky” or “blessed” at all. In fact, I would go so far as to say that thinking this way actually makes me feel worse, not better. I feel disconnected from the community and the support I so desperately need.

Why do we always compare?

When I compare my experience of PsA with someone else, and they appear “worse” off than I, that just negates my own pain. And it does me NO good to compare in that way. It doesn’t actually make me feel better at all. It doesn’t make me feel lucky. And it certainly doesn’t make me feel blessed. The only time I actually feel lucky is when I feel like others understand what I’m going through, good or bad. I feel blessed when I have a community of people around me who understand. Who don’t judge. Who don’t compare. Not when I feel like .....

Comparing and judgment

Even worse, is when we tear each other down. When we compare ourselves with others, those who have found the right medicine or those who happen to appear to be at an easier place in their journey. We feel jealous and judge them. We say things like, “I don’t think they even have PsA at all.” Or “I wish I was that lucky.” Instead of support and true acceptance, we compare and judge. I've even seen people question whether someone else had PsA at all. I think that's just terrible!

I feel bad. You feel bad. It doesn’t matter how our “bads” compare with each other. What matters is that we take the time to show empathy. To share our stories so that others don’t feel so alone. Yes, at this point in my journey, I will see people struggling more than I am. I will see people who appear to be doing better than me. It doesn’t matter. Take the time to listen to other people. Make sure to really connect, not compare. In doing that, you will find the empathy, understanding, and support that you really need.

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