Who am I, and have I always been there?
I am who I am, but who is the “I”? Rather, what is the “I”?
The “I” is an amalgamation of genetics and environment. Part of who you are is encoded in your DNA.
We seem to develop an understanding of who we are through the practice of introspection and through external feedback. Introspection allows you delve into the subconscious and shine a light on your psyche to reveal the invisible threads that move you. External feedback provides the necessary information to calibrate the results of introspection.
I am who I am.
There probably exists no objectively good personality traits. The argument that extremes on either ends of a spectrum are unhealthy and ineffective goes without question. Extremely conscientious individuals might be successful at work but at the expense of their social life or intimate relationships. Highly agreeable people are more prone to being submissive and to be taken advantage of. If such extreme traits were to exist in a vacuum where their benefits could be utilized and their negative outcomes nullified, we would be able to point at objectively good traits.
I am everything that I am not.
What is inauthentic? A mirror that doesn’t reflect.
We call people inauthentic when they suppress their own personalities to reflect the personalities of others. The inauthentic behavior or emotion might reflect good values, meaning that authentic behavior does not necessitate just or decent behavior. Nonetheless, the implicit moral judgment is clear: truth, no matter how ugly or inconvenient, is preferable to a distorted reality.
Something I am not.
We cannot change what was encoded in our DNA, but we can strive to understand our disposition to steer them in the direction we want. Everything that’s inauthentic is reactionary and born out of an external pressure: people’s personalities dominate yours, society dictates its set of rules on you, and your beliefs are force-fed to you. Resistance is lonely and inconvenient. Authenticity is generated internally; once you understand who you truly are and why you are that way, you can begin to work on the internal structure of your being.
Authenticity: a parallel of thought and action guiding the individual on a track towards truth.