Before diving into the questions, tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to be a matchmaker!
I always refer to myself as a "sandbox matchmaker" because I have been setting up my friends since before it was socially acceptable! My sister - co-founder of Matchmakers In The City - and I grew up in a small town where there was very little to do, so we would rent out venues and throw parties and invite all of the cute boys from neighboring high schools and all of our fabulous girlfriends. We were always little social butterflies, and would never hesitate to give our friends the little nudge that they needed to talk to the boy they had a crush on in chemistry class.
Whether we were living in Washington, D.C., London, or New York City, we would always talk about how fun it would be to start a matchmaking company, so after we both got our degrees/grad degrees (I at American University in DC and Cristina at Oxford University in England), and had a few amazing internships/jobs under our belts (I at a lifestyle magazine for Fox News, Cristina at an event planning firm), we made the decision to turn our day dreams into reality and moved to Los Angeles to start our Matchmaking company.
We opened a small office in the middle of Beverly Hills, took our "small-town" outlook, and put it into practice in our new "small town" of the 90210. We started as just two sisters with a passion for matchmaking, and are now in our seventh year of business headquartered in LA with other service areas in NYC, DC, and SF. We have a team of amazing, educated, and intuitive matchmakers who now work one-on-one with our members, and we love helping with all of the memberships by date-coaching and consulting their way to love!
How would you define self love?
I would define self love as enjoying spending time with yourself. Waking up in the morning and appreciating the little things, looking in the mirror and being like, "you're lovely." Self love to me is knowing yourself: knowing that you love having banana and peanut butter shakes, or that you hate big crowds, or that you have a weird aversion to feet... you acknowledge that you may not love what everyone else loves, and you are comfortable with that.
Self love is having compassion for yourself - when you are at both your emotional lows and emotional highs.
In your experience matchmaking, what role does self love play in a relationship?
In order to be in a successful relationship, it is vital to have a cultivated sense of self love. A lot of people are looking for someone to validate that they are pretty enough, or smart enough, or desirable enough, and that is where trouble ensues. When two people who have done the work to spend time with themselves to really learn who they are as individuals come together, it is a beautiful match!
What kind of problems can lower levels of self love lead to in a relationship?
When a person comes into a relationship seeking validation because they are not confident with who they are as a person, it can be very challenging, and can lead to an unhealthy situation.
For example: someone who has major problems accepting love so they constantly are flitting from one person to another, and are always seeking a person. Or, people with low levels of self love can be addicted to winning over another person in a relationship. They don't understand that one of the most attractive qualities about a person is that THEY find YOU attractive! They are constantly chasing the approval of people who do not value them because, deep down, they do not understand how incredible they are.
A person with high levels of self love and confidence loves people who love them because they have the mentality that the person has enough taste and wherewithal to get that they are a catch.
What advice do you have to help women better get to know themselves, feel confident in themselves, and understand what they want from a partner?
So many women are so focused on finding a guy that they forget that being single is an amazing opportunity to be selfish. This is one time in a woman's life where she doesn't have a husband and doesn't have three kids running around. This is a time where a woman can explore her passions, discover new hobbies, and learn about what she actually enjoys doing and what she doesn't. It is also an amazing time for a woman because it allows her to experience happiness without a man: she learns that she can be single and happy, so a man - while amazing and something that she wants - is not the ingredient for happiness. She can give herself that feeling.
"So many women are so focused on finding a guy that they forget that being single is an amazing opportunity to be selfish."
Often, women struggle to practice self love because they see it as selfish or vain, especially in the context of a relationship. What would you say to them?
There is nothing less selfish than taking the time to love yourself. When you take the time that you need to refresh yourself, spend time doing what you love, see your girlfriends that uplift you, you will then bring in your best into your relationship.
In your experience, is there a correlation between self love and communication in a relationship? If so, what is it?
There is a strong correlation between self love and communication in a relationship. When you know yourself and love yourself, you know what you need in order to be in a place of stability and balance in your relationship with a partner. When you feel as though you are not getting what you need in order to make you happy, you will be able to verbalize it. But in order to know what you want and need in a relationship, you need to know yourself, so it's totally cyclical.
"When you feel as though you are not getting what you need in order to make you happy, you will be able to verbalize it. But in order to know what you want and need in a relationship, you need to know yourself."
What advice would you give to women who have a hard time staying true to themselves when entering new relationships?
Staying true to yourself when you are entering into a new relationship can be really challenging, even for the most confident of women. Women are taught to be chameleons; taught to be accommodating, and bend over backwards to make others feel comfortable even if it is at the demise of their own comfort. While compromise is a beautiful and needed element of a relationship, your boundaries should never be compromised.
How can partners make sure they are practicing self love while also loving one another?
Time is self loves best friend! When you love someone, you want to spend as much time with them as possible, but time away from your partner is so necessary when you are practicing self love. Making your community (i.e your positive and loving girlfriends!) a priority is so important: even if it is making an effort to go to brunch with them.
Also, not neglecting your hobbies is important too: if you love to paint, make sure to set aside a night where you are alone with your canvas, or if you enjoy reading, make sure to book in your calendar a reading hour.
Relationships are give and take. At what point/to what extent do you think it's okay to sacrifice your own needs in order to support your partner's?
Compromise and sacrifice are absolutely a big part of being in a healthy relationship: If your partner has asked you to support him at an event for work, but you have a dance class that night, absolutely go to support your partner! If your partner wants you to visit his ailing father in the hospital with him, but you can't stand hospitals, suck it up and go with him. If your partner needs your support, try to give it wherever you can, but if he asks you to do something you are not comfortable with, maybe getting sexual too early on, or giving up your want to have children, or converting your religion even though you are passionate about it, you will know yourself well enough to know that this is not truly "your person."
For individuals who recently went through a bad breakup, what advice would you give them to reconnect with themselves and rebuild up their self love?
Going through a bad breakup is traumatic; it can do a job on even the most confident of women! Mope then cope: It's so important to allow yourself to take time to mourn the loss of the relationship and the future that you once thought that you would have. Listen to Adele, watch "The Notebook" with a box of tissues, and really mourn the loss. Disconnect with him on social media: unfollow him, block him from viewing your Insta-stories, etc. Cry, eat ice cream, and really just allow yourself to wallow... but only for 4 days.
Four days is the time period that you are allowed to wallow... but after that, you need to COPE. Clean up your apartment, make a new playlist of upbeat, female-empowerment songs, and refrain from watching anything with a strong relationship as the central plot (i.e. indulge in your Real Housewives obsession!). This is an exciting new time for you: you could literally meet your future husband anywhere you go and at any time... your future is open to anything, you are free!
As the great Siggy Flicker always says, "A man's rejection is God's protection," and as a Matchmaker having worked with thousands of women who have been devastated after a breakup, I am happy to report that a majority of them have met incredible men who have far exceeded what their ex ever brought to the table.
I always suggest getting in touch with your femininity: take a Zumba class, do a pole dancing lesson, go for a makeup lesson from a professional so you learn how to glam yourself up. Get dressed up for a dinner out with your girlfriends. Look for a spiritual or religious community near you; community is super important for us as we do life! Start eating more healthily - even subbing a salad for one meal a day will do wonders for your body and mind.
Do you believe there's one person out there for everyone or that there are multiple people?
I believe that there is one person who you are supposed to find who will be your ideal long-term partner, but I do believe that we meet everyone for a specific reason. Sometimes it is hard to let go of the guy who is supposed to merely be a lesson, and not "the one," but once you do, you are then free to meet your ultimate match.
How do you practice self love on a daily/weekly basis and why is it important to you?
I practice self love on a daily basis because one of my goals in life is to be like a tree, not a leaf. A tree is strong, resilient, and stable, and a leaf can be destroyed and ripped off with even the slightest blow of wind.
I work really hard, and I don't feel badly about pampering myself. Even if I have 75 meetings during the week, I always make time to get together with my girlfriends for brunch or a fun dinner. I am really connected with my faith and spirituality, and pray all of the time. I know I can't do it alone, and my relationship with God has helped me personally have a lot of compassion with myself! I get massages consistently, I love getting my nails done, I love shopping for fun dresses, I love anything related to makeup, and take time to glam myself up when I go out. Yoga is amazing, and I try to do it as much as possible, and I try to get fresh air always!