Attention Men: Vulnerability Is a Key to Inner Peace and Emotional Freedom

Craig Stanland
3 min readNov 8, 2022

The Pact of Silence

Men conspire in a pact of silence whose goal is to suppress their emotional truth.

It’s an unwritten yet widely understood, tacit agreement.

Share just enough of your emotional self to maintain romantic, family, personal, and professional relationships.

Avoid vulnerability.

Never cross the line.

Never overshare; keep it bottled up.

Live on the surface; never dive below.

Our fathers (many born during the Great Depression and World War II) learned from their fathers (who experienced the Great Depression and World War II as adults), for the most part, led emotionally quiet lives.

And they expected us to do the same.

Men keep how they’re genuinely feeling shoved down in the recesses of their bodies.

We do this to the detriment of our deepest desires.

Man yearns for purpose, meaning, fulfillment, peace, and freedom.

This pact of silence is the antithesis of what we most desire; it’s a prison cell of our own design.

We don’t own what we hide; what we hide owns us.

And what we hide up doesn’t disappear; it runs silently in the background pulling the puppet strings of our lives.

Many men spend the 1st half of their lives subject to the pulling of puppet strings.

They chase anything and everything outside of themselves to feel complete.

Have you ever stopped and wondered why that job title matters so much to you?

Why the next rung on the corporate ladder is so important?

The status-seeking materialism?

Chasing is a dynamic that cuts two ways; we run towards something while simultaneously running away from something.

We’re running from our truest selves.

We’re running from our unfulfilled dreams and what we’re uniquely capable of creating.

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Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.