When you're scrolling through your social media, you see a lot of excited dog sport handlers showing off their weekend loot: clean runs, qualifying scores, winning runs, and new titles. There's usually a lot of engagement on the post with likes, loves, and champagne emojis.

Social media has placed us all in a vacuum, where we can only hold our audience's attention for around 60 seconds, so training videos get spliced down to the most person minute of the five minute session, again, cheering and kudos.

What if it feels like you never have those moments to share? Do you feel isolated? Not good enough? Not worthy of sharing your “so so” run? 

It's gotten slightly more normal for handlers to post their not-so-awesome days of agility too, and yet, that's not the content that fills my feed the most. It doesn't get the same attention as those blue-ribbon moments. “You'll get there!” “You'll be unstoppable when you get it together!” And all the other unsolicited advice that comes with posting something that has any flaw.

Not to mention the handlers that scratched their runs, or the dogs that thought they wanted to go in, only to determine that competing is too much that day, and the handler asked to be excused mid-run. Where's that person's medal?

There's no photo-op for those moments. No one is congratulating you for not completing the run. It's hard to not compete. Maybe harder than competing and winning. It is for me. It's harder for me mentally to be unsure if my dog will want to run today, or be able to once he decides he wants to. It's not hard for me to stay at home and snuggle on the couch with him. There are no ribbons given out for snuggling, or showing up and “failing”. The paper outcome of those two events is the same, and one feels better at the end of the day.

My point is, there is strength in not showing up. There is strength in knowing when to walk away. There is strength in putting yourself first. There is strength in knowing yourself and your partner well enough to know what's best for you both – mentally and physically.

The next time you scroll past someone sharing about their struggles, choose to acknowledge their strength.