We often explain away our tendency to deflect compliments as humility. We don’t want to come across as arrogant, right?

But usually, there’s something deeper at play. Sometimes, you ignore a compliment by abruptly changing the subject and shifting the focus away. Other times, you self deprecate:

“You look super stylish today!”

“In this old thing? At least it distracts from my face!”

One of the reasons for compliment deflection is cognitive dissonance. When someone expresses a positive thought about you, it conflicts with a negative view you have of yourself.

It’s deeper than not wanting to brag. It’s about recognizing your inherent value as well as acknowledging the gift your complimenter has given.

Acknowledge and thank. Accept your compliment with grace. Say, “Thank you.” You don’t even need to follow it with anything else. No qualifier, no distraction, no self-deprecation—just, “Thank you.”

If you add anything, try, “That means a lot to me,” or “That’s really encouraging.”

The last thing you want to do is make someone who just said something nice feel bad. You don’t want to discourage future compliments. You need more positivity in your life, not less.