Sound overly dramatic? Maybe.
I wish I could say you mature as a writer. I don't really know. I think some of it's just experience--you know you've survived this before, it's not the end of the world, you are the master of your made up universe, you can do this. But I don't know that I can honestly say it gets any easier.
It's a big step to let someone edit and critique your work. There has to be a lot of trust, because when they come back with a whole bunch of edits, the pain will make you stupid. There's a tiny moment of mistrust, there's this pain and hurt and you question whether they're really right or not. To your eyes their edits look sort of crass, crude even. *Insert stuck up nose here.*
There's a moment where you want to look at someone else, show them these edits and have them say--"That bitch!"
About an hour after that, after you've gotten angry, after you've cried, after the pain has settled into a numb calm, you look back at those edits, and you can feel your mind churning. Really that does look good. That other change would be even better. And that one? That one sucks. You hate that one. You would rather punch a wall/grind your teeth to dust/break your toe on a chair than let that other pathetic edit change your story. Over your dead body. That change will have to come over your dead body! You won't allow it. You should kindly think of a way to tell them those others aren't bad per say, but they can fuck off over that one. You make the other little changes. Carve red X marks over The Hated One.
Three hours, four hours later. You feel exhausted. Your eyes slowly skate over to The Hated One. You shouldn't be looking. You're not going to make that change. But maybe you should read the story around it as it is. And then with the change... Have you ever felt pissed off that someone was actually right? And you have to shove your ego back down? Yes, you were a petulant child. You were hurt and ridiculous and you didn't even read it through with the intent it was delivered.
It does get better when you're with crit partners you trust. It does get better when you know they've done the literary equivalent of pulling you into a quiet corner in a crowded room before and told you your dress was caught in your ass crack, you had toilet paper stuck to your sexy stiletto, and you hair had come down in back and that clinking you heard was hairpins littering the ground. Because that's what crit partners/editors/friends do. Do they offer to pull your skirt out of your underwear? No. They don't try to fix your story. They tell you so you can fix it and decide what you want to do with your hair.
It all leads back to you. And that's quite possibly the scariest thought yet. And this is just one kind of edit--the kind where someone is actually helping to tell you what's wrong with your story. It doesn't include all of that time you've spent by yourself wondering if the old version was way better and if you've screwed everything up and it'll never get done and you've wasted everyone's time including your own--fun moments of uncertainty and disgust these are. We wouldn't want to forget them.
I've heard there are even some people out there that actually like them--they "love" edits, look forward to them even. *Cough, sadists, cough, cough*
Those people are not to be trusted. They are weird little birds. (Okay, trust 'em if you like, but seriously, what is wrong with you people? Who hurt you as a kid that edits bring you joy?)
Are edits vital to everything I hold dear? Absolutely. Do they hurt? Yes. Will I ever stop doing them? No. If I'm not stressing about edits and in near physical pain from the worry of them, then I'm not doing them right. I don't trust them when they're going smooth. Means there must be something I'm not seeing. Then I have to read my story a bunch of times just to make sure I'm not missing anything. Sneaky typos.
I hope you're having a wonderful day. If you must do edits, please, don't be a hero--hug someone tight and eat chocolate. Maybe they do have to happen, but they don't have to happen alone. :)
Have a lovely, beautiful Saturday. Right now, I'm listening to the tiny puppy either snore or growl in his sleep, and I'm trying to slip sideways in my chair to hear him better--so adorable.
Take care and enjoy this lovely autumn day!