I so agree. It’s not semantics at all. I’d almost say it’s closely tied to the wild difference between growth mindset and fixed mindset. Once we say “I am” (good/hardworking/whatever) — there’s no further work needed. Saying “I strive to be” is a work in progress. Different way of thinking.
This piece struck a personal chord for me. My Dad was one of the soldiers “screaming like an animal and crying at the same time” (his words) while he tore down walls with his bare hands. He knew his wife’s aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews all died in one of those camps. I grew up with the phrase don’t tell me what you are, show me.