Home » Blogs » Conflict without Casualties » Conflict Myth #4: Compassion Means Less Conflict

Conflict Myth #4: Compassion Means Less Conflict

Compassion means you care enough to engage in creative conflict with someone.

Many people misunderstand compassion to be entirely about empathy, sympathy, caring, support, and doing good for others. Quite the contrary. The Latin root of the word means “to struggle (or suffer) with.” Sounds a lot like Michael Meade’s story of co-petition from my earlier post. Compassion definitely includes a heart-felt care for another, however, this caring is translated into co-struggling.

Compassion is hard work. It means to get in the trenches with another person, suffer together, and share in the difficult responsibility of creating something amazing through conflict. Compassion does not mean doing it for them, rescuing them, or avoiding accountability. Compassion means you care enough to engage in creative conflict with someone.

Drama is…

what happens when people misuse the energy of conflict to struggle against themselves or each other, with or without awareness, to justify their harmful behavior.

Compassion is…

the process of using the energy of conflict to struggle with others in a spirit of dignity to create something new.

What do these definitions have in common? Struggling! People often ask me, “So when I read your book, attend your seminars and apply the concepts, my life will get easier, right?”

Wrong. The struggle will not go away. Conflict will not disappear. But I can guarantee that you will have more authentic, productive relationships and feel more purposeful and fulfilled at the end of the day.

Things to ponder

  • When conflict comes knocking, do you struggle against yourself or others in drama, or with others in compassion? How does usually turn out?
  • When have you struggled together with someone during conflict? How did it affect your relationship?
Conflict Myth #4: Compassion Means Less Conflict

Nathan Regier

Nate Regier, PhD is CEO and Co-founding owner of Next Element, a global leadership communication firm specializing in building cultures of Compassionate Accountability®. A former practicing clinical psychologist, Dr. Regier splits his time between writing, speaking, training, consulting, and developing Next Element's global network of certified trainers. He is co-developer of the Leading Out of Drama® training and coaching system for positive conflict, and has authored two books on drama and conflict; Beyond Drama: Transcending Energy Vampires, and Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide For Leading With Compassionate Accountability. Nate is a certifying master trainer in the Process Communication Model®. He lives in Newton, KS, is married and has three daughters. Learn more about Conflict Without Casualties here.

No comments yet... View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Regier, N. (2018). Conflict Myth #4: Compassion Means Less Conflict. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Sep 2018
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.