It is the precursor to most sentences, the identifier of oneself, and the way humanity takes possession of an action, person/ object, or place. It is not the most used word in English, according to the OED at rank 10, but is the most used pronoun in our language.
While it is not the most used word in there English language, sociologically, I feel that the word carries more weight. When used in speech, it denied the presence of the self in the conversation.
“I am happy.”, “I want to go with you.”, or even “I love you” refer to how the person speaking feels/ you. When talking, using the word “I” immediately gives possession of the conversation to you.
Technically, to say, “I love you” means I take possession of the love I have for “you”. It isn’t selfish in meaning, because the speaker is conveying a positive emotion.
However, using this pronoun too often runs the risk of making the speaker sound self-absorbed. Have you ever met somebody who seemed to talk about themselves, their interests, and their needs – rarely adding another name or pronoun to the conversation?
Maybe if speakers choose to utilize new forms of speech, more inclusive speech, and speech that leaves the lines open for others to find a place in the conversation – the world might seem like a more inviting place.
It’s not the word that denotes negativity, it’s the premise behind the word.
What would it feel like if people made their speech more about the collective rather than the singular? Would it innately transform our society into a less egocentric place? Language does govern communication, mostly. If we communicate as if we were speaking to the masses, maybe the world would be less rife with narcissism.