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How to Distinguish Intuition From Imagination

“I can’t distinguish between real psychic input from my guides and other stuff, like imagination. I keep getting conflicting messages as well.  What’s going on?”

It’d be great if there was a formula for knowing what is your intuition and what is your imagination, but I don’t think there is one.  However, there are a few factors to keep in mind when trying to distinguish between intuition and other things.

#1: Practice and Feedback

Practicing psychics have it easier when it comes to distinguishing between imagination and intuition and this is because they get more feedback than anyone. They get their psychic insights validated, or not, as the case may be.

So, if you want to develop your confidence and clearly know the difference between your intuition and your imagination, do what practicing psychics do to gain confidence in their abilities – (1) practice as much as possible and (2) get feedback on your intuitive insights.

You don’t need to be doing professional readings for others in order to get feedback on your intuitive insights – you just need to apply them in your own life and see the results. For example, if a voice inside impulses you to take some sort of action, notice how that voice sounds, what it feels like, and then see what the results are.

But, the catch here is that you must practice detachment in seeing the results of applying your intuition.

What many people do is apply their intuitive insights, and if it doesn’t immediately get proved correct, they get discouraged – try not to approach your intuitive development like that. If the information is not proved correct immediately, don’t worry. Every time you apply your intuitive input and see the results, you get a little bit closer to knowing what your unique intuitive voice sounds like or what your intuitive nudge feels like, so even when you’re wrong, you learn something. But in order to get very far in your psychic development, you’ve got to be open to being wrong.  All developing psychics get it wrong sometimes and practicing psychics can get it wrong too.

#2: Notice the feeling that accompanies your intuition

All intuitive information comes with a special energetic ‘signature’ that you can make out after a while.  The more you practice receiving intuition, the more you can identify the feeling that comes with real intuition.

In a reading, when I am getting accurate intuitive information, I know in my gut that it’s real and correct – I can feel it. When I first started out doing readings, when I picked up on really specific things, I’d try and tone down the specific-ness of it, because I was afraid of being wrong. But I had that gut feeling which was telling me it was right on. The energetic signature of the gut feeling was something between excitement and certainty. And through feedback from clients, I came to realize that the gut feeling of certainty/excitement was a sign of accuracy. But if I never got feedback from clients, I still wouldn’t know what that feeling meant.

Your energetic signature or feeling may not be the same as mine, but if you practice receiving and applying intuition, you’ll probably know what I’m referring to.  Next time you get intuitive input, go inside and ask yourself ‘how does this feel to me?’

In addition to getting feelings in my gut, I also get feedback on the accuracy of my intuition through my emotions. If I get some information, but it ‘feels’ wrong or off to me, (and it’s not a good feeling), then I know it’s not on the right track. When I’m passing on information that I know is accurate, then I feel good, I feel uplifted. If any information is not accurate, it feels discordant in me just before I open my mouth to say it. 

Like me, you may get gut feelings as part of your intuition, or you may not. It all depends on whether clairsentience is one of your intuitive gifts.

#3: Imagination is active, Intuition is passive

Another key difference between imagination and intuition is that imagination is an active process and intuition is a passive process.

When you’re imagining something, the imagination is exerting itself actively. Whereas intuition is what you get when you clear the mind, through meditation, and you make yourself a conduit. You become passive. So if you’re afraid that your imagination is feeding you input when you want your intuition to have more of a say, work on getting your mind under control.

When you get a flash of something – and you’re not sure whether it’s your intuition or your mind being overly active, just stop and quieten your mind. You can do this by focusing on your breath for a minute or two and by just not paying any attention to the thoughts which arise – focus on your breath above all. This really helps to put your mind out of action for a minute while you hear what your intuition has to say about it. Intuition arises in the gaps between your conscious thoughts – so you need to create more gaps in order to hear your true intuitive voice.

When it’s definitely not your intuition:

  • The voice that’s talking to you makes you feel bad or discourages you or belittles you.
  • When the voice tells you something that sounds vague or confusing. Intuitive information should be concise and clear and should slot nicely into your mental frame of reference. If it asks you to have faith in its accuracy, but makes no sense at all to you, then it’s probably best to discard it.
  • When the voice tells you to obey it. Intuition is usually without an agenda. Your Higher Self and Guides will offer their perspective but you’re not required to live your life by that perspective or take into account the input, as you have free will.
  • If in doubt, don’t worry – a true and relevant intuitive message will usually repeat itself if you don’t get it first time.

    Practicing or developing intuitives – how do you distinguish between imagination and intuition?



    1. Hi Anna, Great article with lots of helpful tips! I feel like it is hard to make a distinction between imagination and intuition and I consider them to be about the same – but I think this may be a semantics thing. As far as distinguishing “accurate” feedback, your tip about active and passive is what I use mostly as well as tuning in to accompanying feelings. Mine are pretty similar to yours – an intuitive hit feels like excitement/ knowingness.

      I like to think of imagination as a major conduit through which intuition can come – as in, even if I feel I am “just imagining” something it’s still “real” to a certain extent. Even if it’s something that seems to be proven incorrect in physical reality it can still give me insight into my inner reality/ the spiritual plane of reality. I think a lot of people tend discount their imagination too much and not see it’s value as force for creativity and guidance. Thanks for sharing your experiences with this!


      Adrianne – Awareness Blooms?s last blog post..Can Environmentalists Embrace Abundance Consciousness?

    2. Hi Adrianne,

      That’s a good point. We tend to see our imaginings as separate from real intuition, but I guess like dreams they could have some insights too.

    3. I wish I had read this before; oh well nothing can be done about it now. Thanks for the information.

    4. It’s hard, because for me, my intuitions and imaginings feel very similar. My imaginings often feel certain and insistent. For example, yesterday, I got a hit that a client I was observing had a wedding ring on (I’m blind, so couldn’t see him) and that was bang on, but then, a few hours later, I thought my roommate had a woman in her family who was an alcoholic and ode a bike, but that was way off. Both experiences felt very similar. I guess I need to be more patient with myself, since I’ve just discovered these abilities. Also, I’d say I’m resistent to meditation; I get bored really easily, but maybe I just need to find something that works for me.

    5. Hi Tasha! After you get an impression, it might be a good idea to do some deep breathing to raise your vibration and then see if you get the same impression, or if it feels ‘off’ to you. You need to clear your mind after you get an impression, to check on whether it is true or not. I cover this extensively in my Psychic Awakening course.

    6. Just retired from police work after 30 years and used both imagination and being intuitive every day during my career. I taught it to the younger guys thinking if they got one nugget they could use, it might save their life. It saved mine many times in very violent situations. I plan on developing a curriculum to teach this to the public (Survival Mindset) It works! I am living proof and have thousands of first hand stories to back it up. The possibilities are endless.

    7. Hello Anna, Thanx 4your article, i will definitely be putting your suggestions, in2 action. I related alot with your article, and your abilities seem very very alike mine….i am in the process of learning to control my abilities, instead of them controlling me. Have your gut feelings felt bad enough sometimes 2feel like a curse??….I’ve wondered why??, and been totally confused??,hit rock bottom a few times, along with depression, and i’m fiiiinally, now that i’ve admitted 2myself and above all BELIEVE that i am psychic, now the opposite, has happened, and i love them, because they make me, who i am!!..and i enjoy trying 2work them out..even tho’ i’ve had my frustrated times, but once ya’ start making a little progress,i found it gets better….fiiiinally!! I’m still having trouble figuring them out tho’, and my feelings lately..especially at night, tend 2tell me when my heads going 2run away with me, and get paranoid….so now, at these times, i start 2have a bad feeling, then my head starts thinking about the worse case scenario,(because my guts feeling bad), that could possibly happen, which then makes me wonder if the thoughts that i am thinking, are going to happen, because of my psychism, and i wonder if they are my imagination, or psychism real….I so so hope, at the tiimes that they arn’t real, and i have 2try so so hard 2control my head of late, because i sometimes have knowledge bombs, where things start making sense, and i know a good part of how the Universe can work, and how if thinking in the right Frequency, then we can make things happen….(love 2figure that 1 out more huh lol) then i get scared that my fears could come true….I feel such in a bind!!!!
      Does anyone have any suggestions for me??

    8. Love this! Im currently doing free reading in Pavlinaland. It’s my dream job and im doing my very best to practice. This is very helpful Thank you!

    9. I am a five (Oberver) in the Enneagram which I have come to understand is my
      default personality. If, I don’t take responsibility and unconsciously act, I will respond as a #5. Since I have freewill, I can consciously, responsibly respond .

      What I have come to realize is my heart (intutition) is unlimited energy, and an open
      mind will only focus and frame.