Truth, Lies, and Confessions: The Fear of Sharing Dark Secrets with Mental Health Advocate Tobi Ojekunle

Imperfect Love | Tobi Ojekunle | Sharing Dark Secrets


Secrets. Lies. Truth. Confessions. We often learn to hide parts of who we are–including the mistakes we’ve made along the way. Yet, I’ve found that keeping secrets–the dark, shamed-filled ones–can lead to depression, anxiety, and the tendency to be untrue to the self and others. One lie, even a small one, can lead to a web of lies that makes telling the truth (or even seeing the truth) seemingly impossible. Yet when we face our imperfections–including any untruths we’ve told–we set ourselves free from anxiety, shame, and doubt. Whether holding a secret about past misdoings, negative habits, health issues, or trauma, the failure to share a vital truth can cause irreparable harm. Indeed, the corrosive effects dark secrets can create substantial damage that is often difficult to heal. Yet, due to factors such as shame and a fear of rejection, many people hide the very truth that could set them free. Join Dr. Carla and Mirror Talk mental health advocate Tobi Ojekunle for a soulful conversation about the courageous, freeing journey of honesty. From white lies and toxic secrets to emotional maturity and acceptance, this episode navigates the challenging realm of betrayal and dishonesty in relationships. When we are loved for who we are now–despite the mistakes we make along the way–we can continue to evolve in the most wonderfully imperfect ways.


Books by Dr. Carla Manly:

Date Smart: Transform Your Relationships and Love Fearlessly

Joy From Fear: Create the Life of Your Dreams by Making Fear Your Friend

Aging Joyfully: A Woman’s Guide to Optimal Health, Relationships, and Fulfillment for Her 50s and Beyond

The Joy of Imperfect Love: The Art of Creating Healthy, Securely Attached Relationships


Connect with Dr. Carla Manly:









Book by Tobi Ojekunle:

Confessions: Can You Keep A Secret?


Connect with Tobi Ojekunle:





Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


Truth, Lies, and Confessions: The Fear of Sharing Dark Secrets with Mental Health Advocate Tobi Ojekunle

Find Freedom From Shame and Anxiety by Sharing Your True Self!

Secrets, lies, truth, and confessions. We often learn to hide parts of who we are, including the mistakes we’ve made along the way. Yet I found that keeping secrets, especially the dark and unhappy ones, can lead to depression, anxiety, and the tendency to be untrue to self and others. One lie, even a small one, can lead to a web of lies that makes telling the truth or even seeing the truth seemingly impossible. Yet when we face our imperfections, including any untruths we’ve told, we set ourselves free, truly and deeply free.

We’ll focus on this listener’s real-life question. “I’m recently engaged to my soulmate. I’ve never been happier in my life. We’re already planning the wedding of our dreams, but I have a few dark secrets I’ve not shared with my partner. I’m afraid to come clean because it could end our relationship, and that would kill me. Do you think it’s bad to keep secrets?” With that question as the focus of this episode, I’m Dr. Carla Manly and this is Imperfect Love.


Imperfect Love | Tobi Ojekunle | Sharing Dark Secrets


I’m joined by a very special guest, Tobi Ojekunle, who will be sharing his expertise on soul work, self-development, and well-being. Welcome to the show, Tobi. It is such a delight to have you with us.

Thank you so much. I appreciate you inviting me to be on your show, Carla. Thank you. Last time we spoke, you were on my podcast and it was a wonderful experience, a wonderful episode. I feel so blessed right now to be speaking with you again.

It’s wonderful to share time with you and your podcast, Mirror Talk. It’s been going at least four years, which is quite a long time in the podcast world. You’re doing a wealth of good in bringing mental health issues to light, talking about mental health issues with various subject matter experts, and getting the message out there that we are all imperfect, that we are all in this journey of love and life together. I appreciate that about you. Before we launch into the show, will you tell our audience a little bit about what makes you you?

The element of God in me makes me who I am. To me, that’s love, seeking for growth, and seeking for connection in this world. That makes me who I am and that makes me do everything else that I do. Being a software engineer, a podcaster, and an author, everything I do comes from that source of love and trying to make the world a better place. That’s who I am, I would say.


We are kindred spirits because we both want to make the world a better place. I love that you’re doing it. Your book is called Confessions. Could you tell us a little bit about the book and all of the stories in it and what makes what they might have in common?

Confessions come from a place of struggle from me, from friends, people, and loved ones, basically talking about the struggle with different habits, different addictions, different feelings, and relationships. The essence of writing the book was to make everyone feel that they are not alone in their struggle, in their journey, and in everything they are doing.

It’s like putting the words out there in metaphors, in figurative terms, and allowing you to reflect like what the show is called, like giving a mirror so that you can reflect on other people’s journeys, other people’s lives. Maybe you could find something that connects with you. You could find some clues, some suggestions, and some tips that could help you on your journey.

I love the title that you chose, Confessions, because I think for so many people, we tend to feel as though we are different, that we are broken, that there’s something wrong with us that we need to keep secret, that we need to keep hidden. When we are all so much more alike than we are different and we do struggle in life. Let’s take it to the topic of lies of not confessing, of wondering if we should confess.

When We Lie to Ourself and Others

Let’s look at the listener’s question. This individual, I don’t know what gender they are and it doesn’t matter but what does matter is this individual is trying to come to terms, it seems. I don’t know the nature of the lies, but they sound like they’re pretty big ones for them to keep them from the soulmate, from the partner. What have you found in your mental health journey and your advocacy for mental health? What happens when we lie first to the self and then to others?

We prevent ourselves or we deny ourselves of this genuity, of this freedom, and of being who we are. That’s one thing that comes with this lie. Once we are not fully honest with our partners or not even with our partners or anybody, with ourselves, we’re not feeling honest. We steal that freedom from ourselves, the freedom to be who we truly are and what we are at that moment. We still have the freedom to move to the stage of being, without doubt, without anxiety and any kind of anxiousness. We steal that opportunity ourselves.



I love that you brought up the piece of anxiety because I know I learned very early in life that if I said something that wasn’t honest, it made me feel anxious. I learned very early that that feeling wasn’t worth it. That anxiety inside, and I can’t imagine keeping a big secret because the anxiety would be so big and so stressful. What would you say or what have you found that can help someone who’s holding on to a lie and untruth?

Keeping Vs Sharing Secrets

A negative secret. I’m a big believer in positive secrets like keeping a birthday present until the day of the birthday or a surprise birthday party. Those are wonderful secrets but too many times, I think it’s out of a place of feeling as if we’ll be rejected, that we won’t be loved, that we keep secrets from people, and then we try to carry on the lie and that lie creates more and more lies to cover up the first lie. What do you think about those pieces?

When I think about that, the first thing that comes to my mind is I’d put myself in that person’s shoes. I’ll say, “How important is my peace of mind to me in that situation? If I don’t tell these secrets, will I be at peace with myself? Will I be at peace with the situation, with the setup?” I’ll have to ask that question for myself.

Whatever stole my peace and joy, I would try to avoid it. If it has to do with revealing the secrets or confessing, then I would do that because the peace of mind, the joy of the relationship of myself is very important. The second thing is to let go of it. If you are judged, then maybe that situation or that partnership is not for you.



As sad as it might sound, it could be very difficult, but confess it. If you are judged, accept it the way it is, because we are all humans. From your part of the whole play, you have done your best to be 100% who you are. You’ve revealed everything about yourself and how the other person accepts it is up to the person or how other people take it is up to them.

We are all humans. You have done your best to be 100% who you are. You've revealed everything about yourself. How the other person accepts it is up to them. Share on X

If they love you, they will stay with you and then you will walk through that situation. I don’t know what the secret is. I hope it’s not you killed somebody or something like that. There are some secrets that you might reveal and then it could be the end of the relationship. The one thing that has a lesson, I’m trying to move on from that. Sadly, if I were the one, I’d wait and I would confess my secret and then I hope not to be judged.

I appreciate that. Let’s take this into possible directions since we don’t have a lot of detail on it. Let’s first imagine that this person has a criminal record. Maybe they did kill someone. Maybe involuntary manslaughter. Maybe they were drunk driving and killed someone that they didn’t mean to kill, but they did kill someone.

Maybe this is the secret that they are carrying. Let’s imagine that. Imagine how I’m leaning into this as if I were working with a client. What I would say is, “How does it feel to carry that deep secret inside yourself?” You might not want to tell the cashier at the grocery store about that, but when it’s somebody that you’re planning on sharing a life with.

If I agree with you if they are the right partner and you share that deep dark secret with them, and they lean into you with love and acceptance and say, “My God, what a terrible secret to hold on to by yourself. Let me love you and support you through healing.” That would be a partner that’s there for the long haul.

They may even say, “Let’s make sure you don’t drink and drive anymore. Let’s work on this together. Let’s work on healing together.” Yet a partner who’s not so good might say, “You’re not as perfect as I thought you were and I can’t have a partner who has a criminal record. It’ll interfere with my career and my trajectory in life.” That partner would maybe say, “It’s probably good that I know that now, that if I make a mistake of significance, you might not want me in your life.” I agree with you. It’s a lovely way to figure out if somebody is willing to go through the hard stuff with you, as well as the lovely stuff.

If you are going to end up getting married to that person, the person should know and you are willing to reveal the 100% version of yourself, like your past and your present. You want to share the future with the person. If the person cannot accept your past, the way you’ve exposed it to the person, then it’s very difficult to share the future with such a person. I know it could sound very easy, but it’s very difficult.

If someone reveals a secret to me, like a criminal record, my first thought might be that I have a career. I have great ambitions. You have great things you want to do and not tarnish your image in one way or the other, but then I will have to take my time. That’s what a lot of people have to do. I have to take my time to remember why I’m in love with this person and then know that I’m going to a place of we are not perfect beings. I also have probably skeletons in my cupboard that I have shared or not shared.

Regardless of that, we all have some things that we’ve done in the past. Some could be killing. Some could be stealing meat from the pots. We have something that we’ve done in the past. Now I’ll go to that place of acceptance. We all have a past that we’ve let go of or something like that. I’ll try to see, “Do you need therapy?” “What can we do to move on from this?” It might take time for you to process it.

I love that you said that piece about processing because sometimes when a partner, a child, a parent, or a friend reveals something to us that is big news, it can be a shock to the system. I also found it interesting that you said maybe this person has a health diagnosis. Maybe they have cancer and they haven’t revealed that or something that they feel. I often believe, whatever that secret is, if we lean into it as something different from a criminal record. Maybe they cheated on a partner. Maybe they have some sort of physical illness. Maybe they have a mental health diagnosis that they’re afraid to share.

I love how you said sometimes it takes time to process it because when we share that secret, sometimes we immediately want to see acceptance in the other person’s eyes. It might be somebody sharing with us, “I have HIV,” or “I cheated on you when we were first in a relationship that was only a year old or whatever it was, but I would never do that again.” I believe that sometimes when we share our secrets with a trustworthy partner, it can take us to a place where we feel safe and vulnerable for the very first time in our lives to see love reflected, as you talk about the mirror in Mirror Talk.

See love and acceptance that we don’t expect. That partner, if that truly is the soulmate that you’re getting married to, if it’s something that you’re not doing any longer, it’s one thing to be confessing something that you’re still doing, “I’m still sleeping around on you.” That might not go over very well, but if it’s something where you’re saying, “This is something in my past and I’ve done the work to move forward, I am continuing that work.” It could be something like, “I’m an addict, but I’m in recovery and I haven’t used alcohol or meth for five years, but I was afraid to tell you for fear that you would reject me.”

Isn’t it beautiful when you find the mirror neurons, seeing somebody look at you with such divine love and acceptance that you may never have seen? It’s so healing in and of itself. The listener who wrote in, maybe they’ve never have seen that from a sibling or a mother or a father. Maybe if they break through this fear, they will get that unconditional love and acceptance staring right back at them. What do you think?

I think that’s very valid. I love what you said about breaking through that fear. That’s what we have to break through. First of all, being able to be vulnerable with that loved person, that trusted person, emphasis on trusted person, being able to be vulnerable with that person, break through that fear to speak with the person.

You don’t know what you might get at the other end of that wall when you break through that wall. You might get the acceptance, like we said, and it can be very quick, even quicker than you expect it to be. It could be like when you’re talking to your partner or your loved one about a secret and the person responded, “I also did the same thing in the past. Thank you for confessing this to me right now.”

It’ll get them to bounce off our ideas or know what we did in the past and maybe talk about how to move on from this. If we talk about, for example, you made mention of maybe someone cheated on someone in the past and you tell your girlfriend or your boyfriend about this. Your girlfriend said, “In my past relationship that happened to me also.” “I did this and that to walk through it.” It helps both parties to open up to each other at some point, to even be more vulnerable with each other. That’s a beautiful part that could happen, something that could happen from confessing, I would say.

Opening up to each other at some point, and even being more vulnerable with each other, is a beautiful part that could happen from confessing. Share on X

You’re making me giggle. I’m thinking of a conversation I was having with one of my best girlfriends a couple of weeks ago, and she shared something with me. She said, “I wouldn’t tell anybody this but you. I can’t believe I even think this.” I giggled and I said, “My goodness, I think the same thing sometimes.” It’s okay. It’s just a thought.

We move through it. We’re not acting on it, but it’s a thought. By sharing those things that we think are unique to us, nobody would ever have that thought or that feeling or think about that. Of course, I see it with my clients all the time. They’ll tell me something. I think they’re the only person on the planet who has ever done something like whatever it is or thought something or said something.

I’m looking back at them with such love, empathy, and acceptance because it’s all part of being human. It’s not new. It may feel new and scary and terrible to them, but it’s generally people who I think grew up without true love and acceptance who came to believe that they should be ashamed of themselves and their mistakes, when in truth our mistakes, once we learn from them, they’re some of the best of who we are.


Imperfect Love | Tobi Ojekunle | Sharing Dark Secrets


They are the things that make us who we are. Our mistakes and the past things we’ve learned make us better beings. You could love me for what I am today. I’m able to break that wall to reveal my secrets to you, and I hope that you’re going to accept me for who I was in the past because that’s what’s made me who I am today.

That is a big challenge. I would like to repeat that. It’s a very big challenge to open up to that fellow. We don’t know what secrets the person is holding onto, but I would say that it’s very important for you to also know the person that you want to reveal the secrets to. Have you studied her in the past? Does the person have empathy, for example? Is the person a good listener, does the person understand or have an understanding spirit? Because you want to have the urge to reveal a secret to your loved one or your partner, and then that seems to know the partner for who he or she is.

Is that person mature enough to hear what you’re about to say? You have to get the right time, the right place, and the right atmosphere to talk about it, because all of these things have to be put into place at the right time, the right place, and the right emotions or feelings have to be placed. Also, how mature is that person? Because no matter how big or small the secret might be, if the person is not mature enough to accept or to take that secret in, then it could go south.

Thank you for bringing up all of those points. Before I dive into them, I want to paraphrase something you said that’s exquisite. You said, “I want the other person to love me for who I am and who I was because who I was allowed me to be the person I am now.” That’s so poignant and so true that if somebody truly loves you inside and out, they will be able to see that who you are today is an amalgamation of all of those versions of you from the day you were born. What matters is not that you make mistakes. We all make mistakes. It’s what have you done with those mistakes and are you evolving, always evolving to be a better version of yourself?


Imperfect Love | Tobi Ojekunle | Sharing Dark Secrets


Tobi, that is the underpinning of my fourth book, The Joy of Imperfect Love, that we are all imperfect. It’s what we do with our imperfections that matters. I love that you highlighted that piece. That is who I am today. Next to me is a picture with Buddha’s quote that says, “If you see yourself in others, then whom can you harm?” Buddha. If we can look and see that we’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all told a lie sometime or another, even when we were five or six years old.

We’ve all told a lie here or there. It’s about what we do with those lies. I want to also talk about the maturity that you brought up and the time and the place, the setting that you brought up. I also want to talk about the piece that you mentioned where we want to be looking at when we’re telling this secret that it’s someone we can trust.

I’d like to start there because we often see this with what is called trauma dumping, where people want to share something traumatic. They want to share a secret and they share it with everyone. They think that’s being vulnerable. They tell everybody about the secret and it’s no longer a secret once that happens. They’re not necessarily sharing it with people who have earned their trust. I think that can make a big difference in the outcome. What do you think of that?

I think that’s very valid. Not everyone should have access to our secrets. It should mean you filter the people that you share the deepest of things with. You should share with people who will help you process it, help you move on from it, and maybe even work on it properly. Also, I think it’s the way of our upbringing. Some people are so open. For example, if you’re talking to somebody, they will go on and tell everybody, “Yesterday I did this, I did this, I did this.” They tell everybody about it. It’s because of how they are brought up.

Regardless of that, I believe we are not supposed to share our secrets with everyone because we don’t know who is listening at the moment. Anyone could use it against us or in some ways to hurt us or to harm us. We should safeguard every vital information about ourselves, especially our secrets, and we’ll share them with people who could help us move on or process it.

We should safeguard every vital piece of information about ourselves, especially our secrets, and share them with people who could help us move on or process it. Share on X

Yes, it’s people who can help us move on, who have earned our trust. I often tell people that it’s like, you have a key to your house. Do you give the key to your house to everyone or do you give it to people who have earned the right to that key to your home? It’s the same with the home for our psyches. We want to have people earn that right to the key to our hearts, our souls, our psyche.

Sharing A Big Secret

It sounds as if with our listener’s questions, they’re soulmates. I hope that the trust is there that will allow our listener to do the next step, which is what you were talking about, finding the safe place, the timing, and making sure that we don’t start sharing this secret or secrets at a dinner party or when the person comes home from a long day of work or when they’re feeling anxious and stressed about a presentation. Please guide us into setting the stage for sharing a big secret.

It’s very difficult and it’s going to be very individual. For example, you mentioned some parts of something not to do already, if the partner is anxious or stressed or maybe angry at something else. You should not put in your secret at the moment. I think it should be a moment where you’re spending quality time together. That’s what is on my mind right now.

It should be a moment where you are talking about deep things, maybe without distractions, maybe the times when you go out together, maybe taking a walk, for example, and you are talking about life, you’re talking about your future together. You are being open with each other. It should be a moment where you also use your intuition, know that this person is tuned into what I’m saying at this moment.

This person is connected to me, but he’s not distracted or maybe worried or carried away with some other thoughts, feelings, or something else. It should be the moment when you are both feeling as one. You’re feeling aligned together. That should be the moment when with all diligence and all smartness, you try to bring up the topic and then speak about it.

I’m such a fan of that approach. I’m thinking of when I’m working with individuals who have this kind of question in my clinical practice. I say, “Sometimes it’s good to ask permission.” Using your idea of a walk, I’m a big fan of walking and talking or going somewhere quiet where there aren’t distractions, no phones, no anything.

Saying something like, “Honey, I have something to share with you Is this a good time? I’m feeling anxious about it. Do I have your permission, and your attention because I want to share it with you?” Not only are you getting their permission, not only are you checking in with them if they’re in a good place for it, but you’re also leading with, “I feel anxious.”

That helps almost dissipate the energy a little bit by letting your loved one know that this is weighing on me heavily and is this okay for me to bring it? In a way, it then becomes an offering to other people or another person that they can choose to accept then and there or say, “Now’s not a good time for me. Let me make a sandwich first or let me go for a walk first to get myself in the right place and then when I come back, I’m all yours.” What do you think of setting the stage in that way?

Yes, I think it’s very vital and very important. I’ll add to what you said, for example, saying, “This has been on my mind. I know if I tell you, you might get angry at me. You might not like it, but because I love you so much. You are the most important in my life, I believe you should know about this. I’m ready to tell you this, but let me know.” As you said, seeking permission is very important. “Let me know if I’m allowed to tell you this. I would like to share this secret with you because it’s troubling me. I only want to share it with any other person in this world apart from you.”

I love how you put that in such an honest way and concern. You got to my next thing already. Thank you for that. Caring about the impact it has on the other person when that person is saying, “I love you so much. I want you to know.” I think that is one of the biggest reasons to share a secret with someone you’re about to marry or have married or if it’s going to impact their lives.

I am honored that you brought that up. I found this routinely in my work with individuals, couples, and groups. Sometimes people withhold or have told lots of lies and they don’t think of the singular or cumulative effect. They think, “They’re just stories I’ve told.” Yet, in a long-term relationship, all those little lies, which sometimes people tell during the dating process or the getting-to-know-you process, and then they wake up one day and they’ve married the person or are about to marry the person as in this case.

They realize at some point in time that their understanding of that person, their knowledge of that person is built on a few fundamental lies or a collection of small lies. I believe that all of those lies matter, whether it’s about somebody’s former relationships or bad habits they have or addictions or whatever it is.

We want to come clean with our partner so that they can make a decision. We’ll hope it’s a decision that they still love us and accept us, but we want them to be able to decide whether to be with us or not based on the truth of who we are. To wake up a year or five years down the line and find out that you’re married to someone or with someone who has fed you a whole ball of lies is a very toxic and traumatic discovery.

That’s one thing that we have to put at the back of our minds. Some people might say that if you tell the secret to this person, it might put this person beyond what I would want because I love this person so much. If I tell this person this and that, the person might lose faith in love, in humanity, and might do some irrational things. I could out it to ourselves and because of that, I want to hold back on this secret, to protect the other person.

That’s what’s coming to my mind right now. I was like, “Maybe I should ask Carla.” Sometimes even in my journey of speaking with people, they hold back on some things because they’ve never come up in their discussion or their relationship. Also, they hold back because they believe they are holding back to protect the other person.

I’m with you on that. I’m going to become a mirror for that person who’s thinking that. We cannot generally nor do we want to protect someone, especially if they’re eighteen years old or older from a truth that will allow them to make a healthy decision. Sometimes we are afraid of harming someone, yet when we look in the mirror and dig deep, sometimes it’s our fear of being rejected, our fear of not being loved, our fear of being cast aside.

That is what we say, “I’m worried about this person.” When we bring it back and look in that mirror, often we come to the truth that withholding a truth is going to do that person harm. I’ve seen it in so many situations where partners, whether it’s business partners or love partners, look and they say, “The biggest hurt you caused me was not telling me the truth.” That part is what makes it harder to forgive you.

“Had you told me the truth, I could have made decisions, I could have known who you are and carried the load with you, but you robbed me by lying to me about the right to make a healthy decision.” We can’t go back in time to tell that truth. If it ever comes to someone’s mind, like it’s coming to our listener’s mind, tell the truth now so that your partner is not looking at you five years later and saying, “I love you, I honor and appreciate the mistakes you made. I can accept them but what I can’t accept is that you lied to me.” What do you think about that?

You placed the mirror in front of me too and it made me honestly remember a relationship I was in over a year ago. If I’m permitted to share, I would love to share a little bit.

Please do, Tobi.

I’m not going into details of this, but I canceled the relationship. I left the relationship because there were a lot of red flags on. While I was in this relationship, according to my culture and tradition, I was supposed to inform some elders. Maybe with my mom, for example, I would have loved to inform her that I’m in a relationship with this lady, we’re going out, and we’ve been seeing each other for three months. Because of this relationship, the lady told me, “Don’t tell Carla yet about this relationship because it’s not the time. When it’s time, you let her know about it.”

Down the line, you got to know about it. You told me, “The lady you’re going out with is not the best person for you because she has done this and done that.” I did not know about that in the past. All of these kinds of reasons that I had to leave. Afterward, I got to find out even more reasons why I was told not to tell you yet about the relationship. That haunts me even now even though we dissolved the relationship. When you said that right now, I remember that scene and that feeling. Even a year after breaking up, I still deal with it from time to time.

I wish she told me that she had these issues. I’ll use you as an example. She had this issue with Carla in the past, then I would have understood why she didn’t want me to tell you about it in the past. I would have understood. I would have even known what to do to resolve and to make some reconciliation happen and maybe we might still be together because I truly loved this person. When you talk about that right now, it makes sense to be truthful and open up about this.

Not that I don’t have anything I’m holding back on but one main reason that caused this was because of, “Don’t tell this person this and don’t tell this person that.” Everybody was basically in one way or another against the relationship. At the end of the day, things started to come to light all that had happened in the past that I didn’t know about. That’s hurtful till today.

Thank you for sharing that, Tobi. That’s precisely it. Had it been transparent and open and confessed, had it been open, you might still be together today, but it was the pattern of the secrets, the lies that was most hurtful if I got that right. That takes us to another piece that I wanted to cover with you, which is the maturity piece that you focused on. I like that because often we want to share our secrets with someone, but we must be mature enough to do that.

I’m not talking about chronological maturity because there are a lot of people who are in their 50s, 60s, or 70s and beyond who aren’t emotionally mature. We want ourselves and the person on the other side to be emotionally mature enough to handle this sacred material with us because it is sacred. I love that you brought that up. I wanted to come back to it because that’s a very important part of we need to be looking at someone who’s not going to turn and use that secret against us to say, “You’re a bad person, you’re stupid, you’re a liar, you should go be with someone else because you’re a cheater,” whatever it is.

Secrets and Shame

If somebody did that, that would be a good sign that we don’t want to be with them because if they’re going to throw a secret back at us, which would take us to our next topic, shame. I noticed that shame is often underneath a lot of addictions and a lot of mental health issues. What do you think about the connection between secrets and shame?

They are like siblings, secrets and shame. Shame comes in terms of when we are holding back the secrets. When we’re holding the secret ourselves. We could be self-shaming ourselves like, “Look at me, I don’t deserve this because I did this in the past.” Nobody knows about this, but I know that I don’t deserve this good thing because of what I was in the past. For example, I don’t deserve to be loved. I don’t deserve to have these good feelings. I don’t deserve to be happy because I made someone unhappy in the past. That’s a shame on its own.



That way shame could come if we, unfortunately, did not share this secret with someone mature enough and trusted enough to accept it. The person could shame us to, as you said already, make us feel bad about ourselves, make us feel even much more horrible about ourselves. Shame and keeping secrets are very tightly connected. It’s come from suppressing the secrets deep down in ourselves and also comes from not sharing with the right person.

Shame and keeping secrets are very tightly connected. They are caused by suppressing the secrets deep down in ourselves and not sharing them with the right person. Share on X

I 100% agree with you that people often use shame and embarrassment as though they’re the same thing. Embarrassment is that sense, “I did something in public. I slipped down the stairs. I was walking and my dress flew up,” or whatever it is. “I’m embarrassed by that.” Shame is much bigger. It’s that I am bad. I am not worthy. It often starts in early childhood when parents shame children for making a mistake, for being imperfect, which everybody is, shame them for not getting it “right,” and for telling a lie. Kiddos lie as a part of learning how to tell the truth and learning natural consequences.

I think that sometimes I don’t know about the person who wrote in, but perhaps they learned that it was not okay to make a mistake and so you had to cover it up. You had to lie. This is part of a healthy adult relationship where you learn the antidote to lying is to learn to tell the truth. Even something as simple as not saying I was late because I stopped at the store to get a gallon of milk. It’s okay to say I was late because whatever the truth is. Sometimes I worked too late or I got talking to a group of girlfriends or a group of buddies.

White Lies

We want to be able to learn to tell the truth on little things. Otherwise, it’s what people call a white lie. I’m not a believer in white lies and the benefits of it because white lies can quickly turn into a pattern of telling bigger and bigger lies. What do you think about white lies?

I believe we should run away from white lies. When we get used to telling white lies, then we start telling the big real lies. We go down that rabbit hole. I believe as much as possible, we should always be honest, and try to be 100% honest and true. It’s very difficult in this day and age but do it.

We learn even through social media that it’s airbrushing things, putting up a false front. I’m not saying airbrushing is a lie, but we get very used to it not being our authentic selves. People think that it’s important to put out this perfect version and then before too long, especially for people who are in a pattern of little white lies and then they become bigger and bigger lies till they can’t even keep track of what history it was because they’re constantly revising the story or telling a new story.

A Good Relationship with Truth

When I’ve run into people like that, it’s very interesting because their relationship with the truth becomes very fragmented and often it can even go toward the pathological where they don’t know the difference between truth and lies anymore. I think that’s why I agree with you. It’s very important for us, especially in today’s world, where telling lies is more common than we might hope. We don’t have close-knit society groups in our hometowns anymore where you used to get found out right away if you told a lie or you skipped school or there are other ways social media can help with accountability. I do agree that we do want to have a very good relationship with the truth.

We need to have a very good relationship with the truth. I know sometimes some people say you are smarter when you can play your way around and paint things in different colors to get through, but in the long run, the truth will stand and come out. That’s what counts.

There’s so much less anxiety and stress. When you are real and you say, “I’m sorry I was late for this appointment. I’m sorry I forgot that. Oops, I made this mistake.” It’s usually bigger to you than to the other person, especially if you apologize sincerely and say, “I’m sorry, I’m going to do it differently next time. I’m not that person. I’ve grown and who you see now is the person I am.” I’m taking it back to the listener’s topic, his or her question. One last piece of sage wisdom for those who are holding on to some dark secrets that they might want to share or not want to share, what might you say?

I would say align with the happy, peaceful, joyful person that you want to be in the future. If that has to do with you confessing that secret to that trusted person or to that loved one, go ahead and do it and accept what comes. You might be accepted with love, or you might be rejected, but do it to become that better version of yourself that you ought to be in the future.

Align with the happy, peaceful, and joyful person that you want to be in the future. If that has to do with you confessing that secret to that trusted person or to that loved one, go ahead and do it and accept what comes. Share on X

So beautifully put, Tobi. I don’t have anything to add to that because it’s so perfect. Thank you. I’ll reiterate it. By telling this, if we embrace the person who sent in the question, and embrace this individual, and restate what you said, “Just tell the truth.” Be your more evolved self, the person you want to be, to be clean and as pure in the telling as you can. When you radiate that honestly and that truth, that person across from you will mirror back to you something that will allow you, whatever it is, to be that next better version of yourself simply because you stood in your truth.

Eyes on the goal.

Thank you, Tobi, so much for spending your time with us. I know you were in Germany. I know it’s late for you. I appreciate you spending your time with us. Where can our audience find you and your book?

It’s a blessing to be here. Once again, thank you so much. I would say up to midnight eve while I speak with you, Carla. Thank you so much for this. The podcast is available on all platforms, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts, but all information is going to be found on The book Confessions is available on Amazon. Information is also on the website, but you could go on Amazon and search for Confessions. You could add my name, Tobi Ojekunle, to the search tab, and immediately you get to click on a book and order it and read it and love it, I believe.

Tobi, I will also have all of this information for our audience so they’ll be able to find you, your book, and the Mirror Talk podcast, which I love. You have so many wonderful episodes. Thank you and thanks for being with us. It truly has been a blessing and my thanks to our audience for sharing the journey with us.

Thank you so much for putting out the Imperfect Love to the world and making people more aware of this. It’s a great blessing. Thank you.

Thank you and this is Imperfect Love.


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About Tobi Ojekunle

Imperfect Love | Tobi Ojekunle | Sharing Dark SecretsThe host of the long-running mental health podcast, Mirror Talk, Tobi Ojekunle was born and raised in Ibadan, Nigeria. Tobi grew up with a curious mind and a passion for learning and personal development.

After completing his high school education in Nigeria, Tobi moved to Germany to study Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. He experienced cultural shock, challenges with learning a new and foreign language and the mission to finance and complete his studies. After completing his Bachelor’s and Master’s programs, he works as an energy and sustainable engineer.

His passion for self-improvement, personal development, and having deep soulful conversations with people from various walks of life inspired him to start his powerful podcast, Mirror Talk: Soulful Conversations. The podcast provides a platform to learn from thought leaders and, at the same time, share this knowledge with everyone who wants to learn something new or improve or develop any area of their lives.