Abstractions help us make sense of real stuff.
A map of India is not really India, but it helps us have a better understanding of India. A map can never give us a complete understanding of India. We only approach that awareness by actually experiencing India. (A lifetime is not long enough for us to completely understand India, or ourselves, for that matter.)
We use all kinds of abstractions in our sense-making: maps, pictures, concepts, symbols (as with mathematics), categorizations/labels (as with race), and WORDS.
Yes, the words you are reading are abstractions for the ideas that are currently rattling around in my brain. They are not the actual thoughts in my head, nor are they the realities I am describing. They are simply coding mechanisms for those realities.
We often err by mistaking the abstractions for the real stuff.
A prime example is when we falsely believe that talking about doing something is somehow the equivalent of getting it done.
It's quite important that we know the difference.