Mythical Me: Finding Freedom from Constant Comparison, By Richella Parham
Mythical Me
  • Length: 152 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: October 22, 2019
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4395
  • ISBN: 9780830843954

*affiliate partner

IVP Readers' Choice Award

Do you ever find yourself stuck in the comparison trap?

Speaker and author Richella Parham knows what this feels like. "I couldn't break free from admiring one person's achievements, someone else's personality, another's skills, yet another's relationships. And don't get me started on how I looked at other people's appearances," she writes. "I was haunted by the admirable attributes of other people, certain that I could never match their worthiness. No matter how well-intentioned the teaching or pithy the advice, I found that most of it didn't help me change my thoughts, feelings, or actions."

While there are no easy answers, Parham has identified cultural and spiritual myths about others, God, and ourselves that keep us trapped. From there the journey is a spiritual one. We can pick up practices that help us walk in the freedom of Christ with confidence in ourselves. If you've ever suffered from tortured moments of comparison on Facebook, in the office, or in the hallway at church, you'll benefit from this fresh perspective.

"For years Richella Parham has been a kind and consistent voice of truth in my own life. Now her hard-won wisdom is available to anyone who struggles with comparison, inviting readers to find hope and healing in the circle of Trinitarian community. Mythical Me is a thoughtful blend of personal story and solid theology, and I'm grateful to Richella for writing it."

Emily P. Freeman, author of Simply Tuesday and The Next Right Thing

"Mythical Me is a sorely needed corrective to our contemporary culture's obsession with constantly adjusting our personal and public image to fit hopelessly impossible standards. The wonderful news is that Mythical Me not only provides an accurate diagnosis of these soul-crushing habit patterns, it also guides us step by step into transformative ways of living and thinking that are eminently practical and life giving. I recommend it highly."

Richard J. Foster, founder of Renovaré, author of Celebration of Discipline

"Have you wrestled with the thought, I wish I could be more like . . . ? In this beautifully written, deeply personal, much-needed book, Richella Parham plumbs the depths of one of the most subtle, soul-deadening practices of our age: constantly comparing ourselves with others. In an age of compulsive comparison disorder, this book is a must-read. If you feel stuck in the steel trap of comparison and long not only for freedom but for a way to embrace the fearfully and wonderfully made person God has created you to be, this is the book for you."

James Bryan Smith, author of The Good and Beautiful God

"In Mythical Me, Richella Parham offers practical, next-step wisdom, all rooted in rich theological insight and offered with companionable, encouraging candor. If you're looking for some empty jargon and the illusion of a quick, easy fix, this book is not for you. But if you're finally ready to embark upon the slow, difficult, beautiful journey toward becoming yourself, you won't find a better guide."

Carolyn Arends, author, and Renovaré director of education

"It's so easy to say, 'Don't compare yourself to other people,' but how do you practically live out that simple advice? How do you let go of the exhausting experience of thinking you have to be better than the parade of perfect people online? How do you let go of the mythical me who never makes mistakes? Richella has done the hard work of answering those questions and many more in a beautiful quest to wrestle comparison to the ground. I needed this wonderful book, and if comparison has ever prevented you from experiencing the joy of your own life, you might too."

Jon Acuff, author of Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done

"For years I've been teaching people that things don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. That applies to people too, but often we allow our lack of perfection to cripple us, never realizing the beauty we possess as beloved children of God. We end up comparing ourselves to each other relentlessly, looking for the security that could already be ours if we learned to embrace the love of God and one another. In sharing her own struggles and the wisdom she's discovered, Richella points the way out of the comparison trap."

Myquillyn Smith, author of Cozy Minimalist Home

"In a world where endless opportunities for comparison are delivered to us every day through our smartphones, we need this truth-filled book more than ever. Mythical Me will free you to see the beauty in who you were designed to be."

Melissa Michaels, author of Dwelling: Simple Ways to Nourish Your Home, Body, and Soul

"Finally, a book that is not just a slew of pithy but powerless platitudes urging us to bootstrap ourselves out of a habit that leaves us crushed under the twin weights of not enough or less than; instead, it is a practical path illuminated by God's Word that actually leads us toward contentment and a healthier Christ-centered mindset."

Robin Dance, author of For All Who Wander: Why Knowing God Is Better Than Knowing It All

"With the rise of social media, we are not only tempted to compare ourselves to those around us, but also to the millions of people online that we have never met in real life. This type of exponential comparison can seriously damage our souls. If you have ever struggled with comparison (and who hasn't, right?) then this book is for you! In it, Richella unpacks the comparison trap we all find ourselves in, helps us better understand who we are in Christ, and offers practical solutions for daily contentment and joy."

Traci Hutcherson, lifestyle blogger at Beneath My Heart

"The beautifully and poignantly written book, Mythical Me, is full of helpful, practical advice to meet comparison where it exists and conquer those feelings of inadequacy. I applaud Richella for her transparency, honesty, and gentle approach to this overwhelming challenge we all face."

KariAnne Wood, author of So Close to Amazing

"Mythical Me is a must-read for everyone. With her hard-fought wisdom, sound biblical doctrine, and practical advice, Richella shares her story and offers us a fresh perspective of God's love."

Jen Schmidt, speaker, author of Just Open the Door

"Richella Parham, if we allow her, guides us deep down into the caverns of our hearts where we each have the opportunity to stare ourselves in the face. As we stare, we see how much our tendency to compare ourselves to others corrupts us all. Comparison isolates and malforms us. But Parham doesn't leave us stranded in a cavern. She skillfully guides us toward the path of healing and wholeness. I am astounded by her vulnerability and her wisdom. What a phenomenal guide she is—take and read!"

Marlena Graves, author of A Beautiful Disaster

Read an Excerpt


Part I
The Problem: Distorted Vision
1. The Mythical Composite Woman
2. What Is Comparison and Why Do We Do It?
3. Myths We Believe

Part II
The Promise: Corrected Vision
4. Truth about God
5. Truth about Ourselves
6. Truth about Others

Part III
The Path: Learning to Walk in the Light
7. Making Peace with the Past
8. Transforming Our Minds Day by Day
9. Moving Forward Together
10. A View Along the New Way


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Richella Parham

Richella Parham is a writer, speaker, and the author of A Spiritual Formation Primer. She serves as vice-chair on the board of directors at Renovaré, and she is also the worship coordinator at The Gathering Church and a member of the Redbud Writers Guild. Richella lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband, Jack.

Mythical Me quote "Are you caught in the comparison trap?"
It's exhausting trying to keep up.
I'll never get it right.
I can never measure up.
Richella Parham offers a way to live freedom of comparison.