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11: What it Means to be “Above a 3”

Have you ever found yourself getting a little too heated in the midst of an argument and you don’t really know why? Have you ever been discussing something seemingly small with someone and they blow it way out of proportion? We’ve been there – and this week’s topic may help you find a little clarity as to why this happens.


Think meditation is hard? Do me a favor. Take a slow, deep breath in, and now breathe out. Congratulations, you just meditated.


Hi, I’m Krystal Jakosky, and this is Breathe In, Breathe Out, a weekly mindfulness and meditation podcast for anyone ready to own their own shit, and find a little peace while doing it


Hello and welcome back to Breathe In, Breathe Out. We’ve had a couple of slightly heavier weeks in our podcast, and I really sincerely thank you for coming back and hanging in there and being with me as we explore this concept of needing to love yourself, and needing to give yourself that compassion and positive treatment that you are so looking for from others, because it can only come from you.


We talked about what I see in you, the amazing things that I see in you are amazing things that I see in myself as well, and then I touched a bit on the concept of the things that rub you wrong in a person are also things that are an opportunity to change and do some self-reflection and understand why they rub you wrong. What’s going on for you, and how can you change it, if you even want to change it?


In that podcast, I also talked a little bit about how some of the clients and friends that I’ve presented that to have been really affronted by that idea, they really do not agree with or have any desire to look at the concept that, “Wait a minute, the fact that that person really annoys me means that I’ve got something in me that that is resonating with, and that’s why I’m upset?” It really is frustrating, and I don’t believe people really like to dig out those painful parts.


It’s scary, it’s uncomfortable, it’s frustrating, and so we would rather just kind of tuck them back in the attic and let them gather some more dust and some cobwebs, and pretend like they don’t exist, and yet I believe that only by digging those things out are we able to really feel freer and lighter, and more open in life. 


We grant ourselves more compassion and understanding because we do understand why we act the way that we do, and where our habits and patterns come from, and thereby we are able to embrace them more, change them if we so desire, and just live a clearer, conscious life.


When I talk to people about this concept and they get really upset, they are above a three, and this is another thing that comes back to self-reflection. If you are above a three on a scale of one to 10 on anger or discomfort, the issue is with you, not the other person. 


When you and your partner are in an argument, and one of you sails above a three in your anger and frustration, it is that person’s issue, not the other one. When you, as a parent, are dealing with a child who is screaming and crying and really frustrated, and you don’t understand what’s going on and you sail above a three in your frustration, the issue is with you, not with your child. 


This can be really uncomfortable, and yet this can be hugely freeing. Let me explain.


Last week, we talked about cleaning your mirror, we talked about treating yourself the way that you want other people to treat you, we talked about finding that self-love and that clarity, and digging out some of the reasons that we are uncomfortable or afraid, or some of the reasons that we treat ourselves poorly, the learnings that we’ve picked up throughout life.


As a young mother, I would be in the grocery store, and I had… My kids were 19 months apart, so they were pretty close, and I would put the car seat down in the basket, and my older child would be in the child seat, and I would pull a cart behind me. 


And as I was grocery shopping, trying to get stuff done, if one of the kids would get angry and start to cry, I would immediately be really upset and really scared and really insecure, because I was just positive that everybody in that store was looking at me as though I was a horrible mother because I had done something to upset my child. 


And because of that, instead of continuing my shopping, I would take both of my kids, I would leave the cart where it was, and I would leave the grocery store, and it was because I was so angry, and I couldn’t yell at my kids in the store because people would think even less of me, and I was so insecure about that.


The bottom line is that I was insecure, I had a fear of judgment. I myself was not okay with the fact that my child was upset. Well, my child was upset for what reason? Did I even make an effort to understand why my child had automatically gone above a three? 


I did not have the ability to look and say, “Well, my kid’s above a three, I can stay right where I’m at. I do not have to also go above a three, I can just let it go.”


Oftentimes, our kids go above a three for seemingly silly things. It’s like they ask for a toy, or they ask for candy, and you’re like, “No, I don’t want to buy a toy, I don’t want to spend the money on candy, you don’t need sugar,” whatever that is, and as soon as you say “No,” then the kid cries. 


Children learn that if they cry or give a negative reaction, that oftentimes they will actually get what it is that they were asking for or crying for. Pets kind of do the same thing, they’ll act out, hoping that they get some kind of attention or reaction from their owners. 


They are teaching us how to treat them, they’re teaching us what they want us to do, our children are teaching us that, “If I ask for a toy and you say no, and I cry, then you’re going to give me that toy.”


You have this ability to say, “No, I’m not going to get you that toy, and you can cry all you want, and I’m going to remain calm because I know that you don’t need that toy, you have hundreds at home that you actually don’t play with, so you don’t need that toy.” 


We have the ability to remain calm, we have the ability to see through that temper tantrum, and yet we don’t. Sometimes we get angry and we yell at the kid and tell them to just shut up, it doesn’t matter, they don’t need the toy, they have all these other toys, they can just relax. 


We have this negative, angry reaction to the fact that we are not in control of the situation.


When we have a conversation with a partner or a family member or a friend, and it might get a little bit heated, and somebody goes above a three, why did they go above a three? Why did they get angry? Why did they start yelling and escalate it? 


Oftentimes, I’m sure you may have experienced it, if you haven’t, then I applaud you and that is absolutely amazing, where you’re in a conversation with somebody, and one person or the other starts to yell because they feel like if they raise their voice, that maybe raising their voice will help them be heard more than if they stay calm, and if raising the voice… 


Say the other person raises their voice too, now two people are yelling, but the one still feels like they need to be heard, so they start flailing their arms about and throw out a shoulder or something while they’re trying to get… Because they’re so angry at this.


Oftentimes, this starts with one word, one phrase, one comment, and from that word or phrase or comment, somebody spikes above a three, and if you stop and you go back after the argument to understand who went above a three first and why they went above a three, like if that person… 


If I step back and I say, “Okay, I went above a three. What comment was it that made me go above a three, and why did that comment trigger me?”


Now, this takes a lot of ownership, this takes a lot of choice and intention. The intention is to uncover the upset, the intention is to uncover the trigger. So oftentimes, those words that are said, trigger a fear or trigger a pain or a childhood trauma. 


Maybe a parent told them, “You’re ugly” or “You’re stupid,” or you’re this or you’re that, and in this argument you are called, “God, you’re so stupid, why don’t you blah-da blah-da blah,” and it triggers something from your childhood.


And automatically you’re angry because you want to fight back, and as a little kid, you were not able to fight back because it was your parents, or it was a trusted adult that was telling you these things, and it hurt you, and it was upsetting, and it was scary, and it was frustrating, but here as an adult, you can fight back. 


And so you are going to shoot above a three and you are going to yell back that, “No, I’m not, I am duh-da duh-da duh,” and that’s where the argument goes. Because one person shoots above a three, the other person shoots above a three, and the next thing you know, you guys are yelling things at each other that you don’t really mean, and they are super hurtful, and they are super just painful barbs.


You have to stop and think about it. “Why did I go above a three? What was it that triggered me? What pain or fear did you just poke?” And after you’ve stopped and you’ve said, “Hey, you know what? I’m above a three, I need to take a break,” and you’ve dug into that for a minute.


Then you can go back to your partner or the other person in it and say, “You know what? I just went above a three, I was really angry, and I’m going to tell you why. I want you to understand that when you said this, it triggered this part of me, and that was a painful part of me.” 


Now I’m able to step back and look at it rationally and remove that emotional part and say, without emotion, “Okay, I understand that you were saying this, and this is how I feel, let’s have a conversation about that.”


It’s really hard to step back and self-analyze when you’re in the middle of an angry conversation. The first time I ever came across this, I was just friends with my now-husband, and we were talking about something that I was facing in my life, and I (giggle)… We were just talking and I said something and he was responding, and at one point, he finally just looked at me, and in the most calmest tone of voice that he has, just a normal, calm tone of voice, he said, “I’m getting really angry, so I’m going to leave,” and he left. 


He left my house and he went to his own house, because like I said, we were just friends, and the next day I called him up, but that night, I was really mad. The fact that he walked away triggered me, and I automatically went above a three.


When we were talking, we were both calm, we were both relaxed, and we were both just talking about the issue that was being faced in the moment. He had the forethought to say, “I’m getting angry, so I’m going to leave. I’m going to take a break. I recognize that my temper is going up there, and I’m just going to take a break,” and he left.


I had never experienced this before, I had never experienced the possibility that you could just take a break. You could walk away from the argument and the frustration, you could take a breather, and you could come back to it when you were calm. 


This was his mirror. His mirror was, “I’m angry, and when I’m angry, I want you to let me cool down. I want you to give me a moment.” And then the next day his mirror was, “I’m calmer, now we can talk about it.” My mirror was, “I’m used to fighting, so let’s fight. I’m used to fighting, so let’s just argue and get it out.” His mirror was, “Take a break.”


So he takes a break, and I’m left at my home, and I’m mad that he left, I’m mad that he walked out of my house in the middle of a discussion, even though voices had not been raised, no anger had been shown whatsoever, I was just mad that he had walked away from me in the middle of this discussion. 


And I had to understand what that was, and it had to do with abandonment, it had to do with just being left, it had to do with being unworthy of that person staying around to just fight it out and understand what was really going on, it was a lot of just personal fears and inadequacy, and I had to understand that.


So when we came back together the next day, it was, “I’m going to tell you.” He said to me, “I was really frustrated last night, and I realized after I went home that the reason that I went above a three, the reason I was so angry, is because I care about you, and I really want to help you and make sure that you’re taken care of and protected. 


And in letting you make your own decisions, it means that I can’t protect you, which really bothers me, and that scares me, and because I’m scared, I went above a three. I also recognize that this is your life and you have to make those choices for yourself. I can’t make that choice for you, I have to let you do that, so I accept that, and I’m not above a three anymore, even though I’m still a little scared and I’m worried about it.”


And I was able to say, “Well, I was really pissed off that you left. I was really pissed off that you’d walk out my door. I was pissed off because I felt like our friendship was over, and that you were just abandoning me because you just didn’t agree with how I felt.” 


This was the first time that I had experienced the possibility that talking with someone and not agreeing with someone did not mean that there had to be conflict and anger and yelling. It was the first time I recognized that if my emotions are above a three, I could take a step back, I could look at it, and then I could say, “What do I want to change, what do I learn from this, and how do I make it better?”


This is a concept that I’ve brought forth in so many of my relationships now, and it is absolutely beautiful and amazing. I recognize when somebody else is above a three, and I’m able to step back and say to myself, “They’re really angry. I’m not angry, so I think I’m just going to give them a little space, and I’ll try to talk about this later when they’re not so angry.” 


I can also step back and say, “I wonder why they’re so angry? What about our conversation seems threatening? What did they react to?” So that I can be more compassionate to the possibilities, and more compassionate to them as my friend or my co-worker, or my acquaintance that I just need to work with.


Recognizing that I am above a three, means that I am now taking ownership, I am showing myself through my mirror I have an issue. The interaction with that person in this mirror has shown me that I have an issue. 


That person that just rubs me wrong, if I go above a three, I have an opportunity to look in and change that, and see how I can make things better. In the same aspect, it means that when somebody around me is above a three, I don’t have to take that on. 


If somebody gets angry, I get to say, “It’s obviously not my problem, so whatever you say next, even though it is something detrimental at me, I do not have to react to, because it is you reacting in a protective, angry manner, so I can sidestep that, I can let you know that that’s really unfair, and I’d like to come back at this and talk a little bit later.”


Self-ownership. Self-ownership means that you know when an issue is your own, and you are willing to say, “What can I do to change this and make it better?” It also means that you don’t have to take on anybody else’s shit. 


In our previous last week’s discussion, we were talking about the fact that we teach other people how to treat us. If you decide that you need to take on everybody else’s above a three, you become a vessel for people who are angry to just spew crap. 


And that is not why you are meant to be here, you are meant to be here so that you yourself can shine brightly, and learn, and grow, and experience life on a beautiful, beautiful way and manner. You are worth so much more. You are a gift, you’re amazing. Owning your stuff so that others can own theirs is beautiful.


Owning your own stuff and not taking on others’ means that you now have a boundary, and you have a boundary because you value yourself, who you are, and what you stand for in a beautiful way. 


It doesn’t mean you can accuse people and say, “Well, you’re above a three, so I’m walking away,” that’s just going to piss them off even more. You can acknowledge and say, “I see you’re really passionate about this, you’re really upset about this, and just I’m going to give us a little time to cool down.” 


Accusing people and saying, “You, you” just escalates, and escalation makes it much more difficult to understand the why behind the upset.


Understanding that and embracing that means that there is greater room for healing, there’s greater room for understanding, and there’s a much, much greater chance for change, because everyone is allowed to have that space, everyone is allowed to have that moment, that time, that chance. 


What is it that I want to change? What is it that I’m afraid of? What is it that I need to heal so that I can feel more whole and confident and at peace in this human body, in this human existence? How can I give myself the love and compassion that I so long for? How can I give myself the confidence and respect that I desire from others? 


It all starts with you. You’ve got this, you are amazing. Get clear. Are you above a three? What are you reflecting out? How are you telling people to treat you? What do you want to heal, and what amazing gifts are people reflecting back that you get to recognize are ones that you also carry on your own? 


I hope that you think about it, I hope that you mull this over, I hope that this strikes a chord and that you’re able to start bringing those challenging things forward in a very compassionate and nurturing space.


Journal about it. Take some ideas, take some thoughts, think about different people that might challenge you, and think about the specific issues around that. Start unraveling that ball of yarn, and get down to the core of it so that you can say, “Yeah, I get it. I remember being this as a child, and I don’t have to be this as an adult. How can I heal that?” 


There are a lot of people out there that are more than willing to help you heal that. I, of course, am one of them.


It’s amazing and it’s beautiful, just owning your own shit, granting others the permission to own their own. A world of people who are compassionate and loving to others because they’re compassionate and loving to themselves. 


Clean the mirrors, get rid of the muck, get rid of the dirt, and find some common ground. Acknowledging that we all have challenges and we all have frustrations, and yet we all have the power to own our own stuff, because when we own our own shit, life is just a little bit easier. 


You don’t worry so much about the next guy, because it’s you that matters. You, how you treat yourself, how you love yourself, and therefore how you treat and love others, it is that reflection. 


Make sure that your reflection is so beautiful and so clear and so personally-owned that what you reflect out is one of encouragement and permission and acceptance in others doing the same. It’s not accusatory, it’s an invite, it’s an invitation.


So I look forward to the changes, feel free to share your changes with us, we love to hear about it, and we love to know how we can support you. If you have other topics that you’d love us to go into, please reach out and share those with us, and we’ll see what we can do about diving into them. 


We’ve had three long weeks of fabulous chats having to do with this mirror concept and seeing what’s being reflected out. I am so excited, next week, we are absolutely doing guided meditation that will help you just kind of sit in that and clear your mirror and clean it a little bit, so I hope that you come back for that.


Until then, take care, and again, know that my voice, as one of strength and self-love, echoes everything that you say for yourself, so if you feel like your voice is a little bit weak and needs a little bit more volume, a little bit more strength, I am absolutely there to add to that. 


Because I do think you’re amazing, I think you’re fabulous, I think that we all are a gift to each other, and in this moment we can all bring about amazing changes, so I look forward to being with you next week for a guided meditation for the mirrors, take care.


Thank you so much for investing time into your own wellbeing. I sincerely hope this moment of self care and healing brought you some hope and peace. 


I’m @KrystalJakosky on Instagram and YouTube. And I sincerely hope you check us out and follow along for more content coming soon. 


I look forward to meditating with you again, here on Breathe In, Breathe Out. Until next time, take care.

Breathe In, Breathe Out is a weekly mindfulness and meditation podcast hosted by yours truly, Krystal Jakosky. Each week, we’ll release a brand new lesson or meditation focused on helping you navigate your life by giving YOU the tools to become your own healer.

Breathe In, Breathe Out is available now – wherever you get your podcasts.

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