‘Repentance’ is feeling genuine regret for making a significant mistake. Asking for forgiveness, on the other hand, is related more to our inadequacy in duly living up to our creational purpose during our daily activities.
If man, as vicegerent on earth, lives in contradiction to this potential, asking for forgiveness becomes necessary.
When one asks for forgiveness, they should say, “O Rabb, You’ve appointed me Your vicegerent on earth; however, I’ve done things that are not aligned with this state, and I have become aware of this mistake! Please forgive me for this mistake (action or thought) that goes against the perfection of my creation. If You do not forgive me, I will suffocate in the swamp of my primitive evaluations, please be merciful towards me and ease for me a life that is worthy of my creational perfection.”
Asking for forgiveness with this kind of approach will reach its purpose.
So, what are some of the things for which we should ask for forgiveness?
Allah, who is ever present everywhere, in every iota of existence, wishes that we observe Him both in our own essence and on the creation as a whole. This is why the Quran prompts us with verses such as “He is present in your being, can you not comprehend?” and “Wherever you turn there is the face of Allah”…
However, this being the reality, we live oblivious to this truth and our vicegerency potential, and thus fail to put forth the actions that are in line with this level of consciousness.
So, all of what transpires as a result of not living according to one’s essential reality, actions and judgments that are driven by ego-based thoughts, emotions, conditionings, etc. are all the things for which we should ask for forgiveness.
This is why we should not merely repeat the word ‘Astaghfurillah’ without conscious thought, but actually become aware of our mistakes and make a conscious decision not to repeat them while asking for forgiveness.
 Quran 2:115