One of the things I've heard about artists is, their (lifelong) goal to create a work that cannot be topped.
I suppose there's a conflict if it's something- rather early in their efforts or the artist has some kind of favorite piece that THEY hoped would be considered their best work.
If you churn out "art" on a regular basis and someone is drawn [yeah, I know] to something you captured in a particular piece and claims "It's your best" they probably mean - that's the best 'looking' thing you've done so far. And that sounds more like a statement of something being their favorite.
It's be hard to take 1 comment from a friend that seriously if that same work hasn't moved MANY others.
That sounds like a random opinion. When large groups of people praise a particular work and slate it as your best- then you probably have a new bar- whether you like it or not. Apparently, you will be judged against that for quite some time.
If I evaluate it myself and see that somehow it's part of me getting better, then I feel good and challenged and I want that same level of praise for my next work(s). Yes, that would set a bar. Inspiring, even.
The sucky downside is when you think you've surpassed a previous work and people still prefer that one.
Especially when you try a new style or add a new twist and it's not received well.