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Eyes Bigger Than Your Stomach

November 3rd, 2013 by Will Nesbitt Leave a comment Go to comments

Growing up, one thing you didn’t do in our house was waste food. That was a HUGE no-no. I learned early on to never pile my plate with more food than I could eat. And the few times I did make this mistake, I’d have to sit at the dinner table for hours until I ate everything on my plate…in spite of my claims of already being full. I would play the waiting game thinking that my parents would forget my punishment and I would be able to walk away with no problem. Wrong! I’d try sneaking away from the table and would hear “Get back to that table and finish what’s on your plate!” being yelled from the living room. And don’t let me make the mistake of scraping my food into the trash. That would have had me dancing with a belt with the quickness. I can look back and laugh about it all now, but back then it was serious business.

I remember one episode in particular that taught me the lesson that still sticks with me to this day. I had been sitting at the dinner table sulking over a half-eaten plate of food for about an hour when my grandmother passed by. She stopped, pointed, then smiled teasingly saying, “Eyes bigger than your stomach, huh?” Then she just walked off. I thought to myself “What?? What in the world does that even mean? And why is she making fun of me?!” At the time, I didn’t understand. But, now I get it. You see, my family wasn’t so financially well-off that we could afford to waste anything…especially food. My parents worked hard to get the little we did have. So, these important lessons were necessary to teach me the value of things and that just enough can be good enough.

The expression ‘eyes bigger than your stomach’ is when desire exceeds current capacity. It’s wanting and taking on more than we can handle. To bite off more than we can chew.

Many people want more. More money. More clothes. More sex. More friends. More things. More. More. More. But it’s important that we consider our capacity to handle the things that we want. Under certain circumstances, it’s good to reach and push beyond our limits because that’s how growth happens. However, in other circumstances, taking on more than we can handle can create excess which can in turn create waste.

Sometimes just enough is good enough. More isn’t always better. Especially when the excess goes to waste. Waste is shameful and unwise. Especially when what is wasted could have been shared with and spread equally to others. This is why charity is important and necessary. To share with all. Not just the excess or things we don’t want. But to share all.

What about you? In what ways have your eyes been bigger than your stomach? Have you bought things or created bills you can’t afford? Have you taken on a job or project that has you in over your head? Have you taken on a relationship that you can’t handle?

Like I said, in some cases, adding more onto ourselves can be a good thing. Take weightlifting for instance. You add on more weight over the course of your workout routine in order to increase strength. However, even this should be gradual. For someone just starting out with weight training or getting back into the swing of things after being away for a while, you wouldn’t just jump from bench pressing 20 pounds during one set straight to 200 pounds in the next…not unless you actually want to break the bones in your arms. No. You take your time and increase the weight gradually allowing your muscles time to become acclimated to the weight, exercises, and routines.

Same thing with relationships. Most people want a romantic relationship, but lack the mental maturity or the time for one. They fantasize about and crave all the attention and benefits, not considering that there is another person in the relationship with their own fantasies, wants, and needs to be fulfilled…not considering all the work you would have to put into keeping that person interested and happy. And if you aren’t prepared to provide that or reciprocate their efforts then you are wasting your time and theirs. The rise in divorces over the past few decades can attest to this.

Same thing with money matters. We want more money so we can get more stuff or because we think that having a lot of it will make life better. So, we work more hours to get more money to get more stuff. We want bigger homes, fancier cars, bigger televisions, more shoes and clothes. We max out credit cards, put off bills, borrow, or even steal in some cases just to have it all. Then, when our creditors come calling, we act surprised and become angry as though they are somehow inconveniencing us when they ask for their money back. But again, this is another classic example of taking on more than you can handle.

(Quick rant: One of the biggest examples of biting off more than you can chew financially is student loans. Year after year, high school students are encouraged to attend college. And the fact is that many can’t do so unless they take out student loans. However, many are not educated well enough about borrowing…specifically repaying those loans. They charge ahead head first believing that they will find a high-paying job in their field once they graduate and they will be able to pay back their student loans without issue. But, what happens is that a lot of students graduate and don’t find jobs in their field or find low-paying jobs and find themselves in serious financial trouble because they can’t afford to live well and pay back those student loans. We must educate students about taking out student loans, debt, and how to choose their majors/careers wisely. Ok, I’ll stop here. More on this at a later date.)

It is important that we get to a place that we become content with what we have. Now, this isn’t to say that one should never want or aspire for things. Instead, it is a warning against going overboard. All things should be done in moderation.

Examine your reasons for wanting the things you want. Be honest with yourself about your current capacity to handle whatever those things are. If you know you can handle them, then by all means proceed. But, if you can’t, then be careful. Because taking on more than you can handle can cause serious issues for you and possibly to others.

And if you do find yourself in a situation where you have more than you can handle or even use, then by all means share. Man is called to be charitable. Those who have more than enough have an obligation to share with those who don’t have enough. This is how we create equality and balance in the world. Not to mention, the good it can do for our karma.

More is not always what is best. Sometimes just enough is good enough. Be careful so as to not bite off more than you can chew. Be aware of what you’re actually bringing to the table or else you will find yourself forced to swallow some harsh consequences.


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