Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 12:37:38 AM
“Life is full of what-ifs. You can’t let it hold you back. If you do, you’re not really living at all… just kind of going through the motions with no meaning” (Hamilton, p.123). These words, coming from someone who lost her arm to a shark, yet continued to surf, had a lasting impact on me and the way I live my life. I have faced many obstacles in my life, not as major as losing an arm, but no matter what, I look to the future with a positive attitude. My new outlook on life is primarily because of the bravery and perseverance of Bethany Hamilton.
Bethany grew up just as every other young girl has. She lived in Hawaii and was home-schooled for a while so she could surf more often. She loved surfing so much, her first thought after the accident was “Can I still surf?” And with the support of her family and friends she decided that losing an arm was not going to stop her from doing what she loved. When she returned to surf competitions, she never considered herself to be at a disadvantage and she never once thought about giving up. She wrote, “…I’m living proof that there’s no such thing as a handicap—it’s only in your head” (Hamilton, p.138). Many people would have given up. Many people would have asked God “Why did this have to happen to me?” But Bethany did not ask God “Why me?” She knew God had a plan for her. She did not know what it was but that is what saved her life. And Instead of giving up she decided to use her story and her faith to help others. “I don’t really want people looking to me for inspiration. I just want to be a sign along the way that points toward heaven” (Hamilton, p.209). She may not have wanted to be an inspiration but she was to many people all over the world, including me. Now I may not be very religious, so I might not believe God has everything planned out for us, but I do believe that everything happens for a reason. I learned that from this book. If something happens to me, I should not sit around feeling sorry for myself. I should accept the challenge that was presented to me and not give up until I overcome it.
Acceptance of one’s self is a major part of this book. “I’m cool being me” (Hamilton, p.65). I personally have had my fair share of problems regarding self-confidence and being able to accept who I am. But I cannot imagine walking around like Bethany with all the stares, either because they recognize her or because they are not used to seeing someone with one arm. I now think of how lucky I am. I should not care about what other people think of me because I am cool being me.