Dr. Cristina Yang from ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ has been an icon for many of us Grey’s Anatomy fans. She is brilliant. She is gorgeous. She is focused. She is fierce. She is extraordinary. You’d be lying to yourself if you didn’t dream of becoming a doctor when you were a child (courtesy: brown parents). She was a masterpiece of a character and no one could have given justice to such an enigmatic and brilliant character more than Sandra Oh!
For me, it was when I saw the extraordinary Cristina Yang and her love for surgery that ignited the passion in me for being a doctor. Of course, I grew up and bailed from that dream of becoming a doctor but here are some (read: A LOT) of the lessons by Cristina that I’ll always carry with me!
- Strive for excellence, do not settle for less
Cristina’s focus and her fire to become better propelled me to always strive to be excellent. Though life threw a lot of hurdles at her, be it Burke leaving her at the altar or the devastating plane crash whose trauma haunted her for days; she always came out of it stronger. She gave herself the time to grieve and returned back to her work, more dedicated than ever. Ironically, her resolution to become a doctor came from an immense tragedy of her being incapable of saving her father in a huge accident. With time, her resolve only became stronger and fuelled her hunger for knowledge and excellence!
- Do not bend for other people. Be affirmative of your choices
Cristina’s decision to not have children cost her a lot of emotions, tears, and people. She chose to let go of Owen whom she loved immensely because she understood they wanted different things in their life. At one point, it even caused a wall to emerge between her and ‘her person’/ best friend Meredith. Yet, she stuck to her decision. She didn’t let herself get influenced because of what other people thought about her. She believed in herself and her choices. Her straightforwardness and confidence was often perceived as cocky. In a world where everyone craves validation, Cristina came as a breath of fresh air that inspired so many of us to not question ourselves at every nook of our lives.
- Love what you do
Probably the only love story more legendary on the show than Derek and Meredith’s was Cristina’s relationship with her profession. Cristina Yang’s first love, her most important love, her only love was surgery. Her immense passion for surgery and medicine will forever be a source of inspiration for me. She chose surgery over and over again: over people, over relations, over everything else. In spite of her dyslexia, her determination and hard work made her a world-class cardiothoracic surgeon.
- Put yourself first
The day she left her old life, her life at Seattle Grace; she bid adieu to Meredith with a little last-minute best friend advice that I’ll always hold close to my heart:
“You are a gifted surgeon with an extraordinary mind. Don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. He’s very dreamy, but he is not the sun. You are.”
Often to hold onto people we love, we give away parts of ourselves. Our life revolves around the people we love..or does it? Cristina’s departure still haunts the entire show, but what haunts me more are her last words on the set. I am the Sun of my life. You are your Sun and your life revolves around you. So put yourself first, undoubtedly and unapologetically, at every turn of your life. You aren’t anyone’s shadow. Love others, but don’t live for them. Live for yourself. People will come and go but you will forever be there for yourself. In the end, you are all that you have. Cherish yourself and let no one be the reason you leave out on life. Cristina loved herself enough to walk away from things when they didn’t help her grow anymore, however much she was attached, be it Seattle Grace Hospital or her love, Owen Hunt.
- Dance your feelings out – always works!
This one’s the most important lesson I learned from her – when in doubt, dance it out!
To sum it up, Cristina Yang is one rollercoaster of a character and it has been an honor to watch her on Grey’s Anatomy and grow with her. These are a few of the lessons that I’ll forever hold dear to my heart. Some fictional characters find a small corner in your heart and build an irreplaceable bond with us. For me, that is Cristina Yang!