Self-management interventions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can improve quality of life, reduce hospital admissions, and improve symptoms. However, many factors impede engagement for patients and practitioners. Qualitative research, with its focus on subjective experience, can provide invaluable insights into such factors. Therefore, a systematic review and synthesis of qualitative evidence on COPD self-management from the perspective of patients, carers, and practitioners was conducted. Following a systematic search and screening, 31 studies were appraised and data extracted for analysis. This review found that patients can adapt to COPD; however, learning to self-manage is often a protracted process. Emotional needs are considerable; frustration, depression, and anxiety are common. In addition, patients can face an assortment of losses and limitations on their lifestyle and social interaction. Over time, COPD can consume their existence, reducing motivation. Support from family can prove vital, yet tinged with ambivalence and burden. Practitioners may not have sufficient time, resources, or appropriate skills or confidence to provide effective self-management support, particularly in regard to patients' psychosocial needs. This can compound patients' capability to engage in self-management. For COPD self-management to be effective, patients' psychosocial needs must be prioritised alongside medication and exacerbation management. In addition, patients' personal beliefs regarding COPD and its management should be reviewed periodically to avoid problematic behaviours and enhance positive adaptions to the disease. Patients with COPD are not a homogenous group and no one intervention will prove effective for all. Finally, practitioners require greater education, training, and support to successfully assist patients.