I’m not always of the opinion that we need to forgive those who wronged us terribly. Sometimes maybe. However, I have learned that the best approach is sometimes to thank them instead. Sure, this may be a silent thank you that never reaches their ears (most likely, they do not really deserve to know they did you good). And don’t thank them for being assholes, or for destroying your trust in humanity or for making life harder. Thank them for how they changed you, by reflecting on what they did for your personal journey.

Six months ago this week, everything in my life was uprooted. What I thought was true was not. Things I had put my hopes in disappeared. People who claimed they loved me did not. Money I had was gone. My company was no longer mine. The game of chess I was playing collapsed. And I almost got crushed under the weight.

But instead, I picked myself off the ground, collected what little money, truths, and hopes that were still here, stood up, and walked forward. I rejected anyone who had lied to me. I purged my life of greedy people who were using me for their own benefit. I humbled myself enough to call on clients and ask for work. I reached out to lawyers for advice. I started doing all the proper things I had been trusting others to do for me, but they hadn’t been.

I was shocked to find all my clients loved me and wanted to work with me. Even the lawyers offered their services for free! Every person I had shown kindness to, whether by helping with a project more than I needed to or being an encouragement to them, they all came back and said kind things to me. They supported me.

This was not my first crisis in life. When you dream big you also get hurt big. But I did this one alone. And I found that I was stronger than before. The anger was stronger too, for good reason. Money gone. A relationship over. A lifestyle in jeopardy. All truths felt like lies. I’ve been beaten down before. But never like this.

Some days I go climbing because I am so angry that I have to let out the rage in a way that doesn’t make a hole in a wall or have me eating an entire chocolate cake. Some days I cry, but mostly when I think about my children and how much I hate when people in my life hurt theirs. Some days I want to pick up the phone and give this person or that person a piece of my mind.

But I always keep my mouth shut. I can’t break.

Six months.

However, as I was climbing down a mountain to see a waterfall last week and trying to decide if I could afford to buy dinner or if I was going to let someone take me out, I realized that although I may be financially struggling, I may be starting over, I may be single, I may be watching everything fall apart, it was the best thing that could have happened. Because in reality, this year will be the absolute most important and perhaps most wonderful year of my entire life.

I’ve been given a second chance. Or third? Another chance, let’s say. I got to question everything from love to work to life to trust to my maturity as a grown up. And I grew up too. And I found who my real friends were. And I overcame my fear of heights, both metaphorically and literally. And I learned to be careful.

I am not the girl I was in 2015. I am strong and more careful and wiser and braver and more patient. I’m still learning. I’m learning how to control my anger. I’m learning how to forgive. I’m learning how to be a grownup. A real one this time.

So, thank you to all the people who “ruined my life” in January of 2016. You helped me say goodbye to my old self and emerge as someone new.