Sometimes, it seems, we behave as we believe we are expected to. I don't mean like a child remaining quiet in public, or an immigrant avoiding discussions of open borders among a crowd of Minutemen. I'm speaking of how we feel inside, and how we show that to others.
I'll give you an example: When one of my sons behaves in an inappropriate way, say throwing rocks or sticks in the house, I may wish to indicate my displeasure. Do I always feel significant displeasure at his behavior? Well, when I choose not to ignore the behavior (which is sometimes the most effective response), I often allow myself to feel upset, and to display that outwardly, even when my inclination might be otherwise. That is, I behave as I am expected, or perhaps more precisely I display outwardly the feelings that I wish to be perceived as having. But being an actor as I am, that process of display often corresponds to inward changes, and I become as convinced as anyone that those are my true emotions.
How does this translate beyond child-raising? Let's look at my career. Should one be pleased at having completed a Ph.D., yet remaining unemployed, adrift in the waves of uncertainty? It's inappropriate not to be upset, not to be depressed even, not to anger at the questions, or sulk in shame when forced to admit this continuing state. It takes great fortitude of self-assurance in the face of these insults, an inner strength to believe enough in oneself, to face the world and say, "there is no lack in me, it is mere circumstance that puts me where I am". I am not always so strong. So, I play the role, whether I feel it truly or not. Perhaps it is also the hope that others will prop me up, my desire to hear words of encouragement and praise.
But sometimes we simply need to pull up our own bootstraps, and get hiking. All the means are before me.