Overcoming Fear of Rejection

It hurts to be told you are lacking. But such is life. Even among the naturally gifted, no skill can be refined without putting in the time so, naturally, failure will almost certainly precede success. For certain people, people like myself, an aversion to rejection can severely stunt growth. After all, if you never expose yourself or your work to open criticism (outside of friends and family), how can you recognize your shortcomings? How can ever improve or grow?