“If someone says, ‘You complete me,’ RUN!” That’s the title of a book by Whoopi Goldberg. It is one of the many wise things she learned from a lifetime of experiences and now wants to share with her readers.
I think Whoopi Goldberg is single at heart but she sure has not spent her whole life single. As she explains:
“I thought that in order to be ‘normal,’ I had to be married. So I got married even though I knew it wasn’t right. When that didn’t work out I tried it again. And then again.”
Whoopi believes you need to know who you are and be honest with yourself and other people about that. Then you need to live that life that is right for you, and not the life that other people expect you to live or try to shame you into living.
Whoopi also wants you to understand those romantic songs and movies and even many commercials for what they are – fantasies and mythologies, not real life. “We think these movies give us hope,” she cautions, “but in reality they just create false expectations that will come back and bite us in the butt.” Same for the love songs. For example, Whoopi has an answer to the question posed by the Supremes, “Where Would I Be Without You?” Her answer: “Hopefully still yourself.”
One of the things I appreciated most about the book was something that is all too rare: Whoopi not only proclaims that she is not interested in coupling up, she recognizes that there are others who are not interested in that, either. She also affirms that there are other kinds of relationships and other kinds of love, in addition to the romantic variety.
Here are some of my favorite quotes.
On Living Single
“I need you to understand that it is okay to want to be by yourself.”
What Whoopi thinks you should be doing: “…leading your own fulfilling life, learning new things, working on your career, your friends and family, your causes and passions. Instead of sitting around waiting for some guy to call, go develop yourself.”
“The idea [that you need] to find someone and couple up…makes people who are not interested in coupling up, or who at this point in their lives are not coupled up, feel terrible. It makes us ask ourselves, ‘Is there something wrong with me? Why doesn’t someone want me?’”
“You should be able to do things for yourself, no matter how big or how small. You should be able to make yourself happy.”
Sometimes people want to live single because of things such as the ones Whoopi describes, including “I don’t have to talk to anyone if I don’t feel like it” and “I can hear my own thoughts.” She concludes: “This freedom for me is worth far more than any relationship.”
Bad Reasons to Couple Up
“People tend to rush into relationships because they are afraid they are not going to have anybody, like that’s a bad thing.”
“No one should feel like they have to have someone there with them to show outside people that they’re worthy. It takes a solid person who knows who she is to go to the dinner party by herself and hold her own.”
If you want a partner “because they can do stuff for you, or because they will take care of you financially, that is not a good enough reason. All the things on your checklist of what you want him to be – you’d better equal them…Take responsibility for yourself, and don’t expect someone else to do it for you.”
Same for men: “Learn to do stuff on your own.” (And no, Whoopi is not just writing for straight people.)
- “If they complete you, they can deconstruct you as well.”
- “It is almost like you don’t have enough sense to do sh*t on your own.”
- “…the idea that we are walking around as half a person, I find bizarre.”
Don’t get married:
- “because you’re lonely”
- “to prove a point”
- “to get back at somebody”
- “because your mother wants you to”
- “because you figure, ‘What the hell’”
On Bigger, Broader Meanings of Family, Relationships, Love, and Soul Mates
“I believe in soul mates but I don’t believe that you have to have sex with your soul mate or marry your soul mate…I have four soul mates now. They are people for whom I would give my life. But I wouldn’t have them come live with me in my house. I don’t want to marry them. They are married to other people anyway.”
“…family just means you’re related by blood – but sometimes there are other families that are better suited for you, more than the one you were born into.”
“One of the things that everyone seems to do when they find a new partner is they disappear…This is a terrible thing. It’s wonderful to fall in love and go into your love cave for a little while, but you can’t just disappear from the friends who have been there for you all along. That’s so high school.”
“…people don’t understand that friendships sometimes are the things that last longest in life.”
“If you have dear friends, they are the people that make your soul whole.”