Andre Fili: “I didn’t feel a lot of love growing up, I haven’t liked myself much"

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Andre Fili: “I didn’t feel a lot of love growing up, I haven’t liked myself much"

Andre Fili spoke to The MMA Hour about his win against Bill Algeo. Fili recalled his childhood and the difficult moments that affected him. “I didn’t feel a lot of love growing up, but nobody loves you the way they love you after you win a fight,” Fili said.

“You win a fight and it’s thousands of strangers and they want to hug you and raise you up and tell you you’re the man. You get that 30 seconds after you win a fight where you are the most adored person in the entire arena, in the entire room.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a 30,000-person arena or a 3,000-person bingo hall in a Native American casino, you are the man and everybody loves you. I think I was craving that as a kid. I wanted these external validations, and now, as a real adult, if I can call myself that, I’m at a place where I actually love myself, and I actually find happiness in internal validations and meaningful relationships and good choices.

I’ve changed the way I talk to myself, internally, I’ve changed my internal dialogue. I’ve made all these adjustments where I don’t crave that external validation anymore the way I used to. I want to win fights now for reasons that are healthier and more meaningful."

Andre Fili and his struggles

Andre Fili had trouble accepting himself as he was.

Many times he was 'harsh' to himself, but he decided to change some things and become the best version of himself. “This is the first time I’m treating myself like a person whose happiness I am responsible for, treating myself like a person who actually deserves to be happy,” Fili continued.

“Most of my life I haven’t liked myself much. I actually hated myself most of my life and my internal dialogue has been incredibly hard on myself. I have a lot more love for myself [now], and in turn I have a lot more love to give to other people.

I’m more compassionate, I’m more empathetic, I operate from this deeper well of kindness that I didn’t have for a long time because it just wasn’t how I operated, and I thought that’s how I had to be, because that’s what served me early in my career and early in my life.

Now I’m in a place where there’s more love. I deserve to be happy, I deserve to treat myself with some kindness. I’m still tough on myself, I’m still hard, I don’t believe in over-celebrating small victories, I don’t believe in making excuses.

... But I also know that it’s OK to love yourself and to let yourself enjoy things and to be kind to yourself”.