I Love You Unconditionally, Now Shape Up!

By Gregg Sanderson

“Don’t go changin’ to try and please me…I love you just the way you are.”—Billy Joel, “Just The Way You Are”

This beautiful love song of the late ‘70s threw quite a monkey wrench into unconditional love. Its message is not, “I love you.” It’s, “Freeze! You’ve got it.”

“…Don’t go tryin’ some new fashion. Don’t change the color of your hair…”—same song.

But what if I want to “…go tryin’ some new fashion or…change the color of my hair?” What if I want to do something else, see someone else or go someplace else? What then?

This song, like most, suggests the experience of love depends on your partner. As an “enlightened” being, you know you are responsible for your life. If your feeling at the moment isn’t love, all you have to do is shape up the other person.

Your “shape up” tools are the “J”s… Judgment, Justification and Junk. You use guilt trips (Judgment), demands (Justification), and/or bribery (Junk) to manipulate. Has any of that ever brought you anything more than a temporary fix? Chances are, at best, it delayed an inevitable departure.

What about commitment? If you commit to forever like the fairy tales say, there could come a time when one of you might not want to be there. Then what? Commitment becomes a club to beat each other with.

That’s the way life is under the old paradigm of Stimulus > Response. How well does that work for you?

What would it be like with our new paradigm: Stimulus > NEED > Response?

It’s a whole new world! You no longer depend on another person’s behavior for happiness. Now it’s all within your control. Your unsatisfied need creates the stress, and you have the power to change it.

When you feel any unpleasant emotion, you know something is not OK. Determine what it is, and change your programming to make it OK. It’s that simple, and look at the consequences:


Support is a feeling that has little or nothing to do with the words, “I support you.” When you feel OK, you can support your partner. It’s the key to happy relationships.


Under the new paradigm, your commitment is to feeling good. If a need triggers bad feelings, you change it. Then you feel good and support is automatic. Happiness becomes a moment-to-moment experience instead of something to seek, hope for, or demand.

Unconditional Love

Instead of “Be mine,” Love says, “Be you.” You don’t find many valentines or songs that express that unconditional love.

You’re in charge of how you feel! Ain’t that grand? Instead of shaping people up, you can feel OK about the shape they’re in. That’s unconditional love. Instead of getting your buttons pushed, you disconnect the buttons.

Several years ago, Marla and I traveled the country to lead relationship workshops. One day, we found the perfect love song. One line expresses everything we teach about support and unconditional love. When we first heard it, we both cried. It’s all you need for a happy relationship.

“I’ll make music while you sing your song.”

Think about it. (Check out the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH5P44kq2MA)

Gregg Sanderson is author of Spirit With A Smile, The World According To BOB. He is a licensed practitioner in the Centers for Spiritual Living, and a Certified Trainer for Infinite Possibilities. His earlier books were, What Ever Happened To Happily Ever After? and Split Happens—Easing The Pain Of Divorce. His latest project is the New Thought Global Network, where subscribers can enjoy the best in New Thought presentations from anywhere at any time. You can see it at www.newthoughtglobal.org.


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