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I recently watched an interview between a human rights activist and a woman speaking on behalf of mothers. The topic discussed was the controversial recommendation by the British Medical Association for doctors to refer to pregnant women not as “expectant mothers” but as “pregnant people.” The decision is an attempt to recognize the rights of transgender individuals.


The spokesperson for mothers felt that she and all pregnant women were being denied the right to be recognized as mothers, that a part of their identity was being stripped from them.


The more I listened to the woman’s argument the more I realized that she was allowing her sense of identity to be threatened by a decision imposed by an external entity.


Trance State


Society is constantly trying to shape us. From the moment we are born we are given labels — boy/girl; mother/father; fat/thin, etc. The media and our cultures in general are relentless in the social programming of the members of its society. Many conform to this programming and fall into what psychologist and researcher, Charles Tart, calls a cultural trance.


In the trance state we easily conform to roles imposed upon us by society. A person’s identity, however, cannot be taken from them if they have a strong self-definition. If one’s sense of validation comes from an internal perspective of their own knowing and self-confidence, then they are less affected by external perceptions.


Maintenance Work


Maintaining a strong sense of self will help one overcome perceived threats to their self-worth. The following suggestions can help one to manage any such threats.


Assess your emotional health. Are we able to regulate our emotions without too strong a need for others? Without a balanced sense of self, we can become uncertain of ourselves and seek approval and validation from others.


Spend time alone. Research studies show that spending time alone can be good for self-discovery as well as freedom from concern about what others think.


Venture into the realm of quantum physics. Explore how consciousness affects reality and how language is inherently limited.


Through this exploration one may find that words cannot define us and that within our consciousness lays the truth of our limitlessness. In this realization we recognize that our identity cannot be defined by something outside of us nor can it be put into words, you simply ARE.


Karen Gay, A-Roaming Bodyworker, is a holistic health practitioner practicing in Hanoi. For information on the types of services provided, visit

Karen Gay

A true global citizen, Karen has lived and travelled overseas for more than 20 years. Her current journey has led her down the rabbit hole. She's not sure she'll resurface. You can follow her on and