Anyone who has survived four years of art school critique knows that you "shouldn't take it personally." We are trained to detach ourselves from our artwork; "it's not a critique on you, just on your work." So we pull up our boot straps and build up some scar tissue to toughen up. It's likely that we then either put too much stock in what folks have to say and think, or turn a cold apathetic shoulder to our audience. I'd like to argue that perhaps our work is lacking a bit of vulnerability these days.
But what encouragement do we have to open up when cowardly anonymous voices spend their time attacking others on the internet? Or when it seems that a handful of folks took your fabulous idea and ran? That there is nothing new under the sun? It is the simple fact that our world needs truth. It longs for beauty and desires excellence.
Yes, there is still a necessary place for and need of constructive criticism. After all, if your work lacks excellence and craftsmanship, why should anyone put much stake in your character? But let me encourage you to pour a little more of yourself into your work. Sit down with a good cup of coffee (or strong bourbon drink), pen and paper and ask yourself hard questions in an effort to remember the "why" behind the work that you do. Let that reason drive you to excel in your craft and it will become apparent that your work is different from the chap's who was told he can take a nice picture or knows his way around inDesign.
Being vulnerable doesn't make you immune to negative feedback and in some cases might invite more empty criticism. But take heart, knowing that you are creating good work from a place of honesty and passion. Surround yourself with like-minded people who are also dedicated to creating beautiful, meaningful art and be careful to sharpen one another in your work; be intentional about offering a positive, constructive voice to those around you. Take care to make good work and encourage each other well.