Year of Yes

“She (Cristina Yang) has learned to not let go of the pieces of herself that she needs in order to be what someone else wants. She’s learned not to compromise. She’s learned not to settle. She’s learned, as difficult as it is, how to be her own sun” (Rhimes 56).

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From the writer of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and the producer of How to Get Away with Murder, Shonda Rhimes’ book  Year of Yes allows people from various races and nationalities to understand and confront their deepest personal issues and experiences.

Considering that all of her shows are successful, Rhimes narrates how she conquers her stage fright, inhibitions, and other fears.  I commend how honest and straightforward she is in this book. She shares with her readers her support system, previous problems, and some convictions (about marriage and motherhood) that other people might find different.

“I had no idea why I was unhappy, no specific moment or reason to point to. I just knew it was true…. I was shut down. I was tired. I was afraid. Small. Quiet” (26).

“Being a mother isn’t a job. It’s who someone is” (107).

“Losing yourself does not happen all at once. Losing yourself happens one no at a time….Losing yourself  happens one pound at a time”(141).

These challenges that she was facing back then, are the same challenges that each person can relate to. In effect, she introduces the premise of saying “yes” to all the opportunities that are coming on her way.

“If I’m going to say YES… I might as well say yes to being me…. I am going to say yes to everything that scares me” (70).

“This Yes is about giving yourself the permission to shift the focus of what is a priority from what’s good for you over to what makes you feel good” (123).

However, a person can never really say “yes” all the time. She emphasizes the right balance on having the courage to  say “yes” and the bravery to say “no”. I agree with her that there are some people or requests that we also need to refuse in our lives. No matter how difficult, it is just for our own “peace.”

“I can certainly feel the difference. I’m trying to take up as much space as I need to take up. To not make myself smaller in order to make someone else feel better. I’m allowing myself to shamelessly and comfortably be the loudest voice in the room” (200).

“Because it’s not merely about surrounding myself with people who treat me well. It’s also about surrounding myself with people whose self-worth, self-respect and values inspire me to elevate my own behavior” (258).

I bought this book, expecting that she would somehow give her strategy in writing her television series’ plot twist or surprising climax. Instead, she chooses to introduce herself and  through sharing her experiences on how she rose to be who she is today, this gives inspiration to all readers. Her writing style provides a lot of snippets or different stories then she weaves them perfectly and coherently. In the end, this gives the readers our own “aha!” or “now, it makes sense” moments.

“Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be…. Don’t apologize. Don’t explain. Don’t ever feel less than” (286).

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