I am a highly successful professional with a long career. I am not bragging; it’s true. I am being honored by a local organization for my work, and I deserve it. Self-esteem is not the problem here. The problem is that I cannot tell people that I am being honored. I cannot stand to ask for recognition, and I did not ask for or apply for this honor. I do not like to be the center of attention. I am actually modest, shy, and highly introverted, but I found my calling and I’m good at it. My avoidance of the spotlight is a strong counterreaction to having been quite conceited as a child and having been told that this was not an attractive quality, and it’s true, it’s not! So I stopped! I tell people very little about my work and have told almost no one outside my immediate family about this upcoming honor, not even my siblings. I think my reaction is extreme and even a little weird, and maybe I’m depriving my family and friends of a chance to celebrate with me (which cannot really be done because it’s happening at a private ceremony). But I’m not comfortable asking for congratulations. “Oh, by the way, I’m being honored by XYZ Agency soon.” It just feels … icky. What should I do?
— False or True Modesty?