This feels like a very cynical moment, but I think there’s more going on than just that. I think what Toph is really saying to Korra is that if you derive your self worth solely from your accomplishments, then you are going to wind up pretty empty as a human being. Because our accomplishments, huge as they may seem in the moment, ultimately don’t amount to a ton in the grand scheme of things. Granted, Korra did save the Air Nation and the world from 10,000 years of darkness. But she’s gotta find other reasons to keep going.
Toph doesn’t think her police work really “solved” anything, but she also doesn’t seem like she’s a shattered human being. Rather, she’s made peace with the vanity of human pursuits (dukkha) and has chosen a spiritual path. She is literally the bodhisattva beneath the banyan tree.
I knew there was something more to this than sheer cynicism, but I couldn’t quite put it into words. When you say it like this, though, it makes a lot of sense.
(Source: heartcoma, via korraquality)