In Writing Fiction for Dummies (page 294), the authors also touch on the proper style of critique and how it varies from writer to writer. They aver that there is a thick-skinned type of writer, who needs forthright criticism, and that there is the sensitive type, who requires very gentle criticism. I’ll take their word on that, but I haven’t met the first kind yet. Whenever I thought I had, it turned out that they were either good at disguising their vulnerability or they showed it ways I didn’t understand.
In your case it’s probably a failing of the other students to adapt their style of critique to your personality. It is fairly easy to convert just about any criticism into a gentle breeze without compromising its honesty. It will require some understanding of your perspective, but people who work with language and especially fiction writers, who also work with characters, should be able to pull it off.
That said, I must admit that my answer may be not so much about retaining or regaining confidence in writing skills but more about removing one’s identity or self-image or self-esteem from the front lines of the battle. Then again the first part of the accepted answer is as well. What I’m missing there is the how.
Don’t view writing as an end in itself. Abandon the idea of art of art’s sake. (If you don’t mind, that is.) Authors like Sandra Cisneros or Toni Morrison write to move. They want to honor the struggles of a past generation, fight prejudice and misinformation, and guide us along many other paths to the betterment of society. That way, fiction becomes their vehicle for a higher purpose, and that way, they can achieve what JSBձոգչ recommends, to let criticism of their work be only that and not criticism of them personally. (Unless the critic actually attacks the theme of the story, but that’s a whole new level.)
As a quick-and-dirty metaphor, I’m still decent at opening locks, and I have a friend who knows the public transportation network of the whole city and surroundings by heart. So assuming I get an email from another friend who locked themselves out of their apartment, and I reply that I’ll be there in a jiffy to help. Then I ask my friend with the near-eidetic memory how I can get there as quickly as possible, and he tells me that I have to change three times, take rail replacement buses, and walk half a mile.
I’ll realize that it’ll take me a whole dozen jiffies at least, but even if he’s very forthright with his revelation, it won’t feel like an attack on my self-identification.
Welp, that’s what helped me at least.