I started Doctor Who with the Ninth Doctor and this is how I had always interpreted regeneration...."same man, new face." I was never really comfortable with Ten's explanation of regeneration in his last episode.
On a different note, I don't think the Eleventh Doctor has that dread of regeneration. In the episode Let's Kill Hitler where River poisons The Doctor, he goes back into the TARDIS to locate a cure. When he learns there isn't one is says something along the lines of "fine, I'll just regenerate then." Maybe were are going back to the "same man new face" philosophy?
Maybe its similar to how someones perceptions and opinions about death may change? The doctor might just not really be sure what actually happens to him during regenerations. He might just think about it differently from incarnation to incarnation. So if 9 was absolutley sure that he would still be the same guy after regeneration, just different looks and a bit different personality...I donīt see why 10 couldnīt feel different about it...and think of it as actually dieing as a "soul" (for lack of a better term) and a new soul beeing born that gets his memories.