The Messenger of Allah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam said:
“Be conscious of Allah wherever you are.Follow the bad deed with a good one to erase it, and engage others with beautiful character.” (Tirmizi)
“Follow the bad deed with a good one to erase it”
This part of the hadith is proactive, an aspect that many Muslims fail at. Our understanding of sin should be mobilizing, not debilitating. Too often, we respond to a sin by putting ourselves in a figurative corner and abusing ourselves psychologically until we get over that sin. This is not what Allah wants from us. Yes, we should feel guilty and have a level of regret, but it should not stop us from moving forward in good deeds. People use their sins as an excuse to stay behind. Do not allow sin to stop yourself from all the other good that you could be involved in.
The response to a sin should not be to wait, but rather to race to do something good so the sin can be erased. Our attitude should be proactive and positive. We should always have hope that Allah can, and will, have mercy on us as long as we keep struggling and pushing forward.