i see where you are coming from with your reasons for liking bella, and i am happy for you that you have found yourself in a character - that's an awesome feeling, isn't it?!
however, i don't share your opinion of her, i don't really think she has the strong qualities that even out her negative ones, but again, that's just me. i just don't think she's real strong. then again, she could be.
personally, i think bella's a little spoiled. she's never had anyone be mad at her and STAY mad at her for a while, because she only really interacts with people who love her. no one is ever very mean to her. no one yells at her. everyone is so concerned with protecting her. but it's getting yelled at, screwing up and being held accountable, having people treat us poorly and dealing with it, friends leaving, dealing with hard situations like that that make us strong. and no, i don't count the choice between edward and jacob in there. not that it wasn't hard, or painful, but she knew they both loved her, and that THEY were not going to hurt her, either one of them.
i think that can be attributed to bella's lack of a social life. i think bella is so afraid that she can't handle getting hurt that she's never really reached out, never gotten hurt, and never gotten strong. i think that's evident in the way that she reacted to edward's leaving in new moon. it has seemed ridiculous to me for a long time, but now i realize that really, that was the first time she'd lost someone close to her. she hadn't developed any strength.
i agree with you about kate. although, bella does that a lot. she did it to jacob too. but kate knew what she was doing - she WANTED bella to get angry with her. she knew she needed the motivation to use her shield. for everyone else to get all annoying was silly though - did they really think she'd hurt nessie?? come on.
with leah, again, i don't have a problem with her crying, it hurts like hell to be criticized. what i DO have a problem with is that bella can't take criticism, but again, she never has had to. but that doesn't mean she shouldn't have taken that criticism to heart, and tried to change. she gets really upset when she's criticized, by someone or herself, then forgets it. that's not healthy.
i agree with you that i was glad bella still had all of her emotion when she became a vampire. it was a huge relief.
so, all in all, bella has all the potential in the WORLD to be incredibly strong and selfless and all that great stuff. she's just never been taught how.
death cannot stop true love, it can only delay it for a while...