I resisted the urge to watch Greys Anatomy for years, 17 years to be exact, but with lockdown and being unable to leave the house, plus a particularly hard break up, I needed a new comfort show. To my surprise, it came in the form of Greys Anatomy.
I had gone to my sister’s to help her with the school pick up, she is heavily pregnant and my nephew has a habit of running across the field and she had been watching it, which meant I also watched it with her. I snuggled on down on the sofa, feeling pretty bad for myself, and found myself enjoying the show.
Now, this isn’t some big declaration of how Greys has saved my life, it has allowed me to cry and look at the world in a new way, which I will go into at a later date, this is me telling you that it’s a great comfort show, and I’m about to start the 16th season on Disney+, but I don’t know what I’ll do when it’s over.
The first ten seasons hold a special place in my heart and that is down to the character of Cristina Yang played by the phenomenal and a crush of mine, Sandra Oh.
5 Life Lessons from Cristina Yang
- It’s OK To Put Your Career First
Cristina Yang from the outset is presented as a strong, career-driven woman, whose main focus is to make it to the top of her field. I understand that in many ways, I am always told I am a workaholic and need to take time for myself and learn to relax. Which for me, a tense human being at the best of times, is a hard thing to do.
With a thirst for knowledge and wanting to be the best at everything, she is a perfectionist at heart, Yang shows her determination in the way she works. Yes, she does take time for herself, normally in the form of friends or learning more about her chosen specialty, Cardiothoracic surgery.
Cristina also made it very clear that she doesn’t want children, content with being the cool auntie to her friend’s kids instead. It should be noted that she is fantastic with children, as a teacher, and loved by her patients, showing that she does have a caring and maybe even a maternal quality to her, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t to be a mum.
Christina Yang is realistic, she understands that her choice not to have children, and even have an abortion, is because for her she doesn’t see a life with children in it when her career is the main focus for her. Which in my opinion is a bold and brave choice.
- Being Vulnerable Takes Time
When we first meet Cristina, she is career-focused and driven, having no real-time for love, never showing her vulnerability or the soft center she has inside the hard shell she has cultivated over the years.
This is a very relatable quality.
But as time goes on we see her have two major relationships on the show and go through some true horrors allowing her to be vulnerable and deal with her feelings and emotions.
Her first relationship is with her superior and the head of Cardiothoracic surgery Preston Burke, it’s an up and down relationship with Cristina fighting her need to be stoic while falling madly in love, so in love that she was willing to change her mind on things she had been adamant about. She opens herself up to this person and relationship only for him to leave her at the altar, not because he didn’t love her but because he does, recognizing how damaging it is for Yang to be willing to give up so much for another person
Her last big relationship is with Owen Hunt, a trauma surgeon and war veteran dealing with PTSD. The two are instantly attracted to each other and when Hunt comes to work at the same hospital, they cannot keep their hands off of each other. Another relationship of ups and downs they try working through their trauma together, but ultimately want vastly different things. Their marriage doesn’t work out but that doesn’t mean they stay away from each other. During this time Cristina is involved in a plane crash that kills two of her colleagues, who she also considers family, this is the catalyst for her marriage to Owen and eventual breakdown after years of keeping everything locked away. It’s some of the most interesting character development for Yang during the show’s run and ultimately, she finds the courage to be vulnerable and focused, going for what she wants in a way she hasn’t before.
- But It’s Also Fine to be Focused and Unapologetic
Cristina Yang could be described as sharp, abrasive, quick-witted, and sarcastic, words that have been used to describe me on more than one occasion, but deep down she is also very caring to the people in her life.
Even though she can come off brash and determined she is still well-liked amongst her peers, with them coming to her for advice and a gossip.
The big thing with Cristina is she is unapologetically herself; she loves to eat, gossip, and have a drink or two but is also fiercely defensive and loyal to her friends. She is focused and career-driven and that does not make her a bad person, it makes her more well-rounded.
She is sassy and sarcastic and says things how it is, which can rub people up the wrong way sometimes but that’s why we love her.
- Be True To Who You Are
Cristina Yang is the embodiment of someone who is true to who they are. It’s true that she has had moments of self-doubt and really big bumps in the road but ultimately she always comes out with her integrity and who she is to her core intact.
She grows so much throughout the series, exploring every side of her personality while maintaining the same wants, needs, and beliefs she has always had.
Yang shows us that you can have it all, in the sense of everything you want, without having to dull your own sparkle and compromise who you are to get there.
She doesn’t apologize for ever being straight up with people or being honest, she’s a secret old romantic with a heart of gold and a sharp tongue. Yang isn’t here to cushion your feelings or make you feel good, but she will when the time calls for it.
She’s amazing with kids yet stays true to herself, not wanting any of her own, she stands her ground on what she wants in life and in work, never backing down from what she believes is the best for herself, friends, and patients. She will always fight her point but that is just who she is.
This is inspiring and not something we see very often on TV.
- Find Your Person
The true great love story of Greys Anatomy is the friendship and genuine love shared between Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang.
Your person doesn’t have to be a romantic partner, and this is shown throughout the show. Your person can be your best friend and confidant, the person who understands and supports you no matter what, and for Yang this person is Grey.
The two of them share a bed on many occasions, put the world to rights, fall out due to their differing opinions but always come back together. They share everything with one another, from proposals to pregnancy to hard life choices, and even with Cristina being halfway across the world they still keep in contact and check-in with one another.
So, the most important life lesson we learn from Cristina Yang is to find your person, cause when the whole world is crashing down around you, they will always be there to help carry the load.
Now let’s dance it out to Tegan & Sara’s “Where Does The Good Go”