(This is part II of a two-part series about keeping up your writing morale. Find Part I here.)
Critique groups are certainly double-edged swords: you can feel relentlessly beat down if the criticism is destructive rather than constructive. Even when the critiques are useful, honest, and diplomatically couched, you can feel irritated and depressed that you haven’t “nailed it” on your novel or poem.
Your first duty to yourself in this regard is to find and cultivate a critique group that is helpful and not abusive (and your duty to your fellow critiquers is to be helpful and not abusive…don’t be the problem). After that, put your big boy britches on and accept the criticism. If it’s substantial, honest, and thoughtfully expressed, it’s going to do one thing: help you grow as a writer.