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Excerpts from
"Changing Your Stripes"

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Tell-Tale Signs of Living a Lie: BRIAR Emotions
 The Social Psychology of Betrayal 
 by Matt Moody, Ph.D. 

Feelings that are False: BRIAR Emotions. When people are being true to their own sense of truth, they display peaceful emotions in their bodies and upon their faces. Integrity of character is evidenced by a calm and contented countenance—an absence of agitated emotions. In betrayal, the tell-tale signs of Justifying, Accusing, & Resenting are expressed outwardly, but what brews beneath all accusing, self-excusing words are anxious and unsettled emotions:

* * * * *
You can lie with your MOUTH or EMOTION:
"When you're in the BRIAR, . . . You're a LIAR."
 * * * * * 

While the lies from our lips are more obvious, lies can also be "told" without words. Resentful and accusing emotions are nonverbal lies that we live; wordless emotional lies that are more subtle and insidious. As we harbor irritated and tense emotions, we are entangled in the thorns of the BRIAR.

                                      The BRIAR represents Lies that we "tell" via Emotion.
                                      The BRIAR represents Lies that we Live!

                                              B = Bothered Bitter or Blaming
                                              R = Raging or Rancor .
                                             I = Irritated Impatient or Irate.
                                              A = Angry Agitated Annoyed or Anxious.
                                              R = Resistant or Rationalizing.

These unsettled emotions openly show in our very countenance; they reveal our betrayal of Truth. Because these feelings are false, . . . we are Being False as we harbor them. BRIAR Emotions are yet another set of tell-tale signs that signal the loss of Life's inherent harmony.

* * * * *
When I am False . . . I feel
Tension, Agitation . . . Disharmony.
My Unsettled Emotions signal falseness.
When I am True, I am at Peace;
the Peace that flows freely
signifies Harmony.
 * * * * * 

In Contrast to Pure White. Visualize a canvas of pure white, the kind of canvas that an artist uses to paint a portrait. Think of your life as a collection of colors being painted upon this clean, clear canvas. With every word you think and every deed you do, the portrait of your life is painted, and in contrast to pure white, any tint or shade less than white is obvious and conspicuous. Against an immaculate backdrop, you are able to see with perfect clarity, how some motives and emotions fall short of pure white.

In your mind's eye, imagine that all loving words and deeds possess the unsullied shine of bright white. The purity of love would have no hint of darkness, not even the slightest shade of gray. Every word, deed, thought, or emotion that is "less-than" pure white, is a shade of betrayal:

                                          Pure Love                                                       Less-than-Love
Emotions of Bright White                                  Black & Gray Emotions

                            calm             approachable                                  impetuous                edgy
                            lovely             enthusiastic                                   suspicious             angry
                            amiable            nurturing                                  defensive              cranky
                            engaging              friendly                                  arrogant             peevish
                            fascinating              happy                                  jealous               resentful
                            welcoming                 sweet                                  galled                annoying
                            cherishing                 giving                                  mean               impatient
                            animated             genuine                                  bitter              malicious
                            gracious            generous                                  bored               apathetic
                            cheery             passionate                                   listless                worried
                            lively            comfortable                                  irritated              fearful
                            real           warmhearted                                   conceited                tense

Shades of Betrayal: Less-than-Love. When we are being less-than-loving, the portrait we paint upon the white canvas is clouded by confusion; instead of vivid hues of red, blue, and green, a quarreling collision of colors makes the muddied shades of black and gray. Thus the portrait of our Life loses clarity and beauty. Against the backdrop of bright white, even the subtlest shades of gray are easily exposed.

* * * * *
The Light of Innocence shines in the Heart of all Humanity;
It carries the Clarity and Purity of Bright White.
When I betray the Light of Innocence,
tense and agitated shades of black and gray
stand in stark contrast: Emotions Less-than-Love,
these Emotions signal my departure from Pure Light.
.* * * * *.

Look back on your life: Remember a time when you were crystal clear that something was wrong to do, but you did it anyway. With your very first act that betrayed the Light of Innocence within, you were completely clear that a lesser way was being chosen. With each subsequent betrayal, this crystal sense of honesty became increasingly clouded; you became accustomed to the muddied shades of a dreary portrait. You became desensitized to the darkness — deadened by the darkness.

* * * * *
Pure White . . . portrays Pure Love.
Anything less than Pure White is Less-than-Love.
All acts that are Less-than-Loving are acts of Betrayal.
 * * * * * 

The Light of Innocence will naturally lead you back to the complete purity you possessed as a child. Followed consistently over time, the Light of Innocence will lead you to recover and renew . . . the You that is True. Returning to pure white is how you began and is who you are from your core. When you recover and renew, euphoric feelings of Love fill you, and flow from you. As you choose Love, you also choose the peace that comes with Love. To follow these impressions of Inner Innocence . . . is to experience rebirth.

* * * * *
The Light always leads to Love.
Pure Love is an absence of Anxious Emotions.
Acts of Love I feel to do . . . bring Healing and Contentment.
As I choose Acts that are Less-than-Love,
I choose chaos and contention.
They come together
just as certain seeds
bring forth specific fruits:
confusion, clamor, and complexity
comes with every act that is Less-than Love.
The Motives and Emotions of My Heart, define the Acts I do.
 * * * * * 

The Fallibility of Following Feelings. The words "feeling" and "emotion" are essentially synonymous. Emotional moments, feeling moments, are the exclamation points of life; they give emphasis to a particular experience. Through our "feelings" we are constrained to pay greater attention to things that likely need more attention—this is true whether the feelings are white, black, or gray.

When emotions flow from darkness, the discomfort of unsettled feelings is educational—it can teach us NOT to do "something like that again." The rule of thumb, "follow your feelings" became a common guide precisely because all emotional experience is instructive.

But because some feelings are fallible, "following your feelings" per se is an unreliable rule. The fact is, emotions flow from prior perceptions and choices; so any physiological feeling that arises is actually following your lead. It makes no sense to follow something . . . that is following you! Since YOU author of your emotions, if your perceptions are skewed then the feelings that flow from foul perceptions will be equally warped. Bottom Line: Emotions should not always be followed, but should always be listened to for what they might teach.

* * * * *
You can trust your emotional feelings to
be a good teacher, but not always a good leader.
You are the author of your emotions; you should not follow,
that which is following you, . . . for if you are false, then
foulable feelings—which should not be followed—
will flow from your falseness.
 * * * * * 

Foul-Able Feelings: A Sign of Leaving the Light. Feelings are fundamentally of two types: feelings of Light and feelings of darkness; emotions of Bright White and emotions of black and gray. Again, emotions are Life's exclamations . . . that point to moments and matters that need attention—what to reinforce in Bright White moments, and what to avoid when black and gray emotions arise. Emotional feelings "kick in" as a function of how you perceive your world; thus, if your perceptions are incorrect or impure, you will generate body physiology in support of a "false alarm."

* * * * *
Fallacious Feelings should not be followed,
but should be "listened to" and "learned from."
 * * * * * 

The most important function that foulable feelings serve . . . is to let us know we have left the Light. Negative emotions can be useful exclamation points that help us correct our course; however, they are only helpful if we hear and heed their warning, otherwise the experience of feeling negative emotions is just one more useless, needless occurrence of Self-Inflicted Suffering. Listening to what anxious emotions are willing to teach is one way that Life is Self-Correcting.

Because foulable feelings let us know that we have strayed from the Light, the way to discern is clear: Feelings of Light lead to do good, . . . and when you do good, you feel good. In the very same way you recognize a good tree by its good fruit, you may also know that you are being true by the joyful feelings that fill you, and shine from you.

A thorough understanding of the tell-tale signs of betrayal can provide awareness sufficient to catch yourself and correct your course. The patterns are predictable and observable; they are signs central to the aim of Un-Doing! Seeing these signs in yourself will provide a huge clue . . . to what you need to Un-Do:

* * * * *
When I go against my own sense of Truth,
I go against myself, . . . I am false. Being false,
the way I experience the world is colored by my falseness:
I see darkness in my world, because of the darkness in me.
My thinking, my emotions, and how I behave
are all tainted by betrayal.
My search for solutions is skewed;
It is wrong, because I am wrong.
 * * * * * 

When caught in the trap of betrayal, we encounter the connected consequence of diminished vision; betrayal and blindness always occur together. People will not even attempt to correct a problem if they don't think they have a problem — yet they do, and are blind to it! So having an intellectual awareness of the tell-tale signs of betrayal is a good start in "seeing" beyond the blindness.

Intellectually identifying the tell-tale signs in ourselves can be quite easy; the harder task is humbly admitting one's betrayal and proactively pursuing a corrective course. Even though there may be intellectual acknowledgment of tell-tale signs, yet we will continue to be blind as long as we remain in betrayal. Clear vision only comes with harmony of heart. (Changing Your Stripes, pages 194-200)

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