And many times, we don't know the limits or the capabilities of others.
Sometimes we have a good idea of another's limits or capabilities.
But other times, we just project ourselves onto the other person -- a form of arrogance for us and a discouragement to the other person.
So yeah, sometimes, we pressure others from from our own ego.
Other times, we're so enthused about a certain mitzvah and the way it's working for us, that we forget that the other person may not have the capability to do that mitzvah in the special way that we do.
(And if you find yourself faced with a high-octane enthusiast, I think it's usually best to just go along with them, tell them how great they're doing -- because you get reward for encouraging others & making them feel good about their mitzvot, mezakeh harabim, etc. -- and leave your own personal failings out of it. Just be happy for them as much as you can. Speaking from personal experience on both sides of this scenario... ;)
Anyway, we learn from the Pele Yoetz the importance of encouraging people that even the tiniest act counts for a lot.
For example, regarding Torah study, the Pele Yoetz repeatedly states the following throughout his book:
And they said (Tanna D'vei Eliyahu Zuta, Perek 20) that even if one learns all day the verse "...v'achot Lotan Timna - And sister of Lotan is Timna" -- his reward comes as if he's occupied with Negaim and Ohalot. [Two of the most complex tractates -- MR]
One increases his learning and decreases his learning -- regardless, he should just set his heart toward Shamayim.
But when a guy finds himself with even the smallest amount of free time ("even the short time it takes for a swallow of saliva"), he should say "v'achot Lotan Timna" (Beresheit 36:22) and earn overwhelming reward.
(That's pretty positive and encouraging, isn't it?)
The Pele Yoetz also stresses this regarding men who aren't learned or who barely know how to read; he encourages them with the above.
(And just for knowing, the Pele Yoetz also felt very strongly about the need teach women and girls how to both read and write: "And how good it would be if women were to learn the skill of writing, for then they could easily learn everything!" He also exhorts the women of his time to go to the women's section of a synagogue in order to hear the Torah lectures given there, quoting Shir Hashirim 2:9 as proof.)
So this is very important:
- Don't overload or overwhelm people.
- Don't make people feel like if they can't keep up the pace or perform grand gestures, then their efforts are meaningless or worthless.
Encourage people by reassuring them that even the smallest & briefest mitzvah they carry out can reap unimaginable reward and make a significant difference -- as long as they mean to do it for Hashem.
Start out small -- start out miniscule and weak, if that's where you're holding -- then keep on going throughout your failures and successes, sure in the fact that even the tiniest briefest mitzvah reaps great reward and holds mind-boggling significance.
This is straight from Rav Eliezer Papo, a tremendous self-sacrificing tzaddik.