Trying to explain away the word distracts us from the point.
Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity.2Corinthians 1v12
Paul is speaking with pure motives and intentions. Not what we expect in boasting. Further-
We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.
The conduct he boasts of comes through God’s grace not his ability. He was considered to have wisdom but had learnt to depend on God rather than what he had learnt.
The final twist –
you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.2Corinthians 1v14
Paul will boast in the presence of Jesus who knows his heart. Paul is confident all he has done has been done by God. So, he can speak of it without fear that it will prove hollow for what God does bares fruit. Paul’s boast is a confident affirmation of what God has done through him. It is an act of praise!