I’ve been thinking about the “If-you-don’t-have-anything-nice-to-say-don’t-say-anything-at-all” thing. It might surprise you, but I’m not a fan.

Most of us gals were raised on some form of this notion. We grew up into lovely caring grownups who always want to be positive.

Here’s my problem with that. You can’t be awake to what’s happening in the world right now and also always be calm and sharing something positive. Not in this insane world where:

25 % of American children — 1 in 4 — live in poverty.
Almost 1 in 100 Americans are in prison.
Globally, 1 out of 3 women is beaten or sexually assaulted during her lifetime.
We are wreaking havoc on our planet — with no plan in place to course correct.

Caring women and men around the world are angry and sad about all this, but we often shy away from raw, passionate critique about the status quo because

we don’t want to be angry.
we don’t want to be negative.
we don’t want to just talk about the problem, if we have no solution to bring to the table.

We’ve been scarred by the times the skeptic stood across from us and said, “Well, it doesn’t sound like you have anything to propose instead. This is obviously just how the real world has to be.”

Lately, I’ve been noticing how many of us (myself included) have come to feel it’s wrong, unattractive, or toxic to criticize something, unless we have a complete, plug-and-play, flawless solution ready to offer.

But what if the deep order of things is that solutions arise after a critical mass declares:”No more!”?

What if it is sometimes necessary to say no to reveal what you want to say yes to?

I am working on courageously saying those big no’s of protest without feeling like I have to have solutions in order to do so. I want you to come with me—not only because it’s less scary to do it alone, but also because I think your doing so will serve the world.

Can you give yourself permission to say your honest, heartfelt critiques even when you don’t have a solution to share?

Give yourself to permission to simply say no to the systems — an educational system, a health care system, a financial system, a food system — that do not place human health and communal wellbeing at the center. Say no. Say, “this is insane.” Say, “we’ve lost our way.” Say, “this isn’t the way it has to be.”

Saying no to the systems as they are can be an act of fierce love.

Sometimes, before it can say anything else, love says no.

In saying no, we get in touch with the goodness in us, the decency that demands something better for humanity. There is a place in each of us that became so sad long ago, as we each witnessed the everyday inhumanity of the world. It probably happened in you before age 8 or so.

That part still mourns daily for what happens daily on earth.

Let that part speak, and cry, and say no more.

We have yet to see what an ocean of compassionate tears can do.