To me, criticism is intentionally picking up on the negatives in a piece of work and not offering any suggestions to improve on them, whereas critique is constructively offering advice for the good of the author and the novel. Think about this: have you ever given someone at school/university/work advice on something they’ve worked on? How did you deliver that advice?
Now think about your answer to the second question. How do you think that person felt afterwards?
The point I’m making is that critique is a part of everyday life. We probably do it even without thinking about it. What is important is how we deliver our critique and how to use it to benefit our own work. Authors and artists are particularly prone to being critiqued; it’s a natural part of the creative industry. Delivered in the right way, and used in the right way as well, critique can actually be your greatest ally.
Every first draft will have errors. Some of them will be small and easily rectified, others will mean a complete rewrite of a chapter. But because authors have such a close bond with the plot, the characters and the story as a whole, these mistakes are often overlooked. This is where critique is very helpful; your ‘editor’ will spot these errors, flag them up to you, and save your novel from criticism. Put it this way, would you read a novel filled with grammar errors and poor sentence structure? Surely not!
Critique can come from anyone; friends and family are a great starting point, though I would recommend finding someone who does not know you personally as well. Yes, you will need thick skin, but having your work critiqued before it is published will make your work the best it can be. As an author myself, I would say the critiquing and editing stages are two of the most important rungs on the ladder to publication.