Really hard times in our lives tend to result in new personal growth. It's tender at first, like a new bud on a tree, but it's there, and after a lot of chaos and change, it's so encouraging to see that underneath the difficulty, there is something happening which will grow and eventually bear fruit.
It's a little like sediment forming in puddles of water. The dirt is what is left behind from the pain and the problems, and it weighs you down and gives you a kind of gravity that you didn't have before. Now when stress comes at me, I stand firmer and taller than I did in the past. I will not be pushed around, since I've already come through this miserable place and survived it.
Strength is very hard to measure in the good times, but when you need it, you find it has been developing and growing all of the time. Standing up and saying "no" when you need to is a powerful process. Confronting the longest held patterns in our lives with people takes a lot of time and energy, but I'm better able to do it now because of all of the incidents that have added up to a kind of strength test, and I feel this morning like I might be passing instead of failing.
It feels really good to take care of myself and my own mental health. To push back when I am being challenged, and not apologize for the need to make choices that are good for me instead of dragging me down. I struggled with this before, but now it appears much clearer to me, and I think it's because of the new growth and the weight from the sediment that has been left behind in my life from what I've recently walked through.
It's enough to encourage me to keep walking this path. To not give in to old patterns and pressures. To stay strong, and fight for myself. No one else will fight for you when the chips are down. You must believe in yourself enough not to be pushed around. Boundaries are designed for a reason, and must be upheld, even when there is pressure to cave and make someone else happy. If I'm miserable, it's not a fair transaction, and I have a little more confidence now to stand up and negotiate for something better all around.