You can only toil in the shadows for so long when doing anything of significance or influence or importance before criticism seeks you out. It might be a mindless remark by a family member or a scathing hit piece in a major publication, but the criticism will find you.
Some people crumble in the face of the slightest criticism, and some thrive in the attention that it brings. Assuming that what you’re doing is something that you believe in and that you also have a worthwhile goal in mind, criticism can often be used as an indicator that you’re on the right track.
It’s probably worth deciding ahead of time how much of it you’re willing to endure before throwing in the towel. I imagine public figures and musicians and Presidential candidates have discussions about such topics before they make decisions impacting their career.
I don’t think there’s any shame in quitting something, generally speaking, but I do think it’s helpful to make as many tough decisions — before you’re forced to — as possible.