I am debating on entering a contest and my fear of being laughed out of the running is holding me back. But how am I going to get my work out there if I dont' try? I love what I do, but not everyone loves the final product. Should I let that stop me from photographing what I love? No! Everyone has different tastes so not everyone is going to like what I do.
The same applies to a competition. Not all the judges may like my work, but some may. And the judges who don't like my work will hopefully provide constructive criticism so that I can improve for the next competition. We should always keep an open mind and take constructive criticism as a way to grow. You can decide if that criticism works for what you are doing or not, but if you get the same criticism each time, then you should take the advice and make those changes. This may be the one thing that's holding you back from improving your work.
On the other hand, If it's a criticism from one person that is not repeated from others and you don't like their suggestion, then it's a matter of not agreeing on style and technique. This is your art and you can take it in any direction you want, but why not expand your possibilities by confronting your fears.